“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” – Matthew 10:16 NKJV
The world in which we live and interact is a deliberately hostile world where we are sheep amongst wolves. Hence, as believers, it is crucial for us to recognize that we cannot bury our heads in the sand as the Ostrich does, we are in this world. If we must advance the kingdom of God in this hostile world, Jesus instructs, “… be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
Over and over, the scriptures are laden with unique qualities about certain animals that we are admonished to observe and gain insight from; the ants (Proverbs 6:6-8), the sheep (Ezekiel 34.31), etc. they are often used metaphorically to depict something else. The serpent is known for its subtlety and shrewdness (Genesis 3:1), and not in a deceitful and dishonest manner as many imagine.
As believers, we can demonstrate the cleverness of a serpent in our approach to telling people about the gospel by understanding the people we preach to and crafting our presentation of the message to maximize the impact on the listener. Jesus effectively used this approach at the well with the Samaritan woman in John 4.
More so, we can use our knowledge of the matters of this world to our advantage. It could even be a conversation starter to key into the opportunity to present the gospel. The conversation can be sustained with how we respond to possible questions that our listeners may come up with.
Another attribute to emulate is knowing when to leave. The slimy nature of the serpent makes it easy for it to sneak away from danger. Sometimes, we may not be accepted or heard when we preach. We must be able to spot this and leave when required. Jesus Christ did this too (Luke 4:28) In our dealings with the world, we must be as wise as serpents!
PRAYER: I declare that I am wise and discerning at all times. I am sensitive to what God will have me do per time. I exhibit the mind of Christ as I deal with people of the world. In Jesus name, Amen.
Bible Reading Plan: Jeremiah 18-22