Serpents and Doves

JESUS SPEAKING

   “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore be wise as serpents and as harmless (innocent) as doves” (Mathew 10: 16.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Those who accept the Holy Spirit and forsake evil are cleansed of all unrighteousness.  They are made pure and holy; they are reborn, rendering them as innocent as doves.  However, unlike natural born children whose innocence is accompanied by ignorance, the ‘reborn’ child of God retains the knowledge of good and evil.  In the heart of every believer, innocence and wisdom exist in harmony.  The serpent that Jesus speaks about is a creature that symbolizes wisdom.  In Genesis, God created the serpent to be the wisest of all the animals.  Characteristically, snakes are rarely surprised or caught off guard; they patiently wait for opportunities to strike and always keep their eyes on potential predators.  In a world filled with evil, God’s eternal offspring must apply comparable wisdom to avoid destruction. Like the serpent, believers must identify hungry predators and turn to face them.  How can we be loving toward those who are evil, while at the same time making sure we don’t get eaten by them?  Being both a dove and a serpent can be difficult; it demands discipline and divine guidance.

     Some years ago a man entered the coffee shop where I was studying; it was late and there were very few customers. He began speaking in a broken English accent and was behaving in a rather peculiar manner. He started drawing attention to himself by flirting with the workers behind the register.  When the employees were distracted, the man leaned over the counter and snatched some money from the tip jar; quickly concealing it.  I promptly rose up and approached the counter.  When the man turned around he was greeted with a stern look.  “Put it back,” I insisted.  “I’m so sorry” he replied; admitting to his devious actions; he returned the money and asked for forgiveness.  He claimed he was starving and in desperate need of money.  My heart softened a bit; I informed him that what he really needed was Jesus.  I then offered to help him so he didn’t have to steal.  I gave him a bible from my car and some money from an ATM. After gratefully receiving these blessings, he departed.  Like a serpent, God had given me the wisdom to recognize evil, and to expose and oppose a predator. An yet, like a dove, I avoided despising the man or harming him; instead I showed him love and cared for him according to the will of God.

    God has called every follower to be wise; equipping them with the ability to recognize and oppose evil. Believers must also be harmless and innocent; showing love and affection toward those who oppose what is good.  The wicked despise God’s children; they yearn to destroy, to pervert, and to devour the faithful; while the faithful seek to build up, to love, and to convert the wicked.  Walk wisely in the ways of God, and reach out to the lost; bring hope to the hopeless and let the Lord shine through you; submit yourself to the call of God, and become a messenger of light in a world filled with darkness.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, give us the wisdom to avoid being harmed by evil while at the same time opposing it.  May we be kind to those who walk in darkness and be willing to love the wicked.  May Your light shine brightly in us and through us; that we might direct others away from destruction and toward eternal life.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you!


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