Hi girls! We are at the end of another week of studies, in Matthew chapter 10. I'd like to share with you what I learned about the words in verse 16, "...be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
These are words that I have read many times and even prayed that the Lord would help me to be like this, but I actually could never really understand what the first part meant. I can easily understand how the Lord would want us to be 'harmless as doves'; that makes sense. But the part about being as 'wise as serpents' threw me a bit. Surely we despise serpents, or snakes? They're evil and cunning, aren't they, so why would the Lord tell us to be like them? Well, I had to research this because I really wasn't clear in my own mind what the Lord meant here. I found a sermon by CH Spurgeon which gave some ideas for me to think about and it's these that I'm passing on to you and I hope it helps you understand this better too.
Firstly, Spurgeon says that the serpent has to be wise because it is hated by a deadly foe, Mankind. Men hate snakes and generally want to kill snakes, so the snake must be wary and on guard because people want to harm and kill them. It is in this way that Christ tells us to be wise like the serpent - we are to avoid being involved in sinful activities with people and we are to steer clear when they are telling filthy jokes or stories. Of course, we are to be with those who aren't yet saved because we live in the world; but we are not to be like the world. God has given us people in our lives so that we can witness to them but we should get off-side when they start controversial conversations perhaps trying to draw us in so that they can harm us or the Saviour in some way. They may expect us to react in a negative way and so prove, in their mind, that Christianity is not real or is a joke. There are people out there who will hate us for what we believe in or stand for, so we need to accept this and expect there to be people who may try to harm us. We need to be on our guard against the fiery darts of the evil one.
Spurgeon says that secondly, the serpent is wise because it goes about its business quietly, not being seen much. As Christians, we should try to get on with our lives without getting too involved in the limelight when possible and certainly we should not brag about what we do for the Lord. He says we should live with "unobtrusive earnestness, quiet, simple-minded resolution to achieve your purpose."
Thirdly he says that the serpent is able to get into small openings that many other animals can't get through. The wisdom here is to take advantage of any small openings that we get to witness to people and to bring Christ to them. It could be a gospel tract, a short word of testimony, a simple offer of prayer for a time of need; anything that might let the person see Christ in us.
So, this is how we should be wise - not sneaky, or cunning or vindictive - but aware that we are targets for the devil; living a life of quiet godliness before our enemies and taking any opportunity we can to witness for the Lord.
- Ask the Lord to help you to be wise as outlined above
- Ask Him also to bless you with a gentle and tender heart
- Ask Him for opportunities to serve Him genuinely and sincerely
Hugs Karen x