Read Matthew 10:1-16.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” NIV
Jesus is preparing the 12 to go out among the Jews to tell them that the kingdom of heaven is near, to heal, and to drive out demons…. They are to be Christ’s representatives. But, He also warns them that they are going into dangerous work. The opposition will be strong and bitter, so be ready to face it.
We still face that same opposition when we try to share that the kingdom of heaven is near. It can be painful to be cut down when sharing about a passionate part of our life. I have had many hateful words said to me that felt like a knife twisting in my heart. So how do we live “as shrewd as snakes” while remaining “as innocent as doves?”
We face a crafty enemy and must counter with a cunningness that matches. We must not seek danger, but be alert to it. And all the while, we live in a meekness and humility that represent the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. This is a difficult balance to attain which is why we can only walk in victory in this world with the power of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit leading us. We are in a battle we cannot win, but with Christ, we are already victorious.
Do not back away from the wolves, but remain true to the gospel. Know what you believe, establish your position as a servant of The Most High. Remain intimate with Him through prayer so that in those occasions where words fail you, you can stand firm in the power of His presence at work through you. Never, never, never back down. Stand firm.
- What do we do when people simply will not listen to our message? Read vs. 14 again. Does this mean we give up on them? Support your answer with Scripture.
- Compare and contrast the acts of being shrewd and being innocent. How does that play out practically in our daily lives today?
- Research the phrase "the kingdom of heaven." Why does Jesus use that particular phrase in this passage?
- Vs. 8 says, "Freely you have received, freely give...." What does that mean? What do you need to change in your life to live in conformity with this command?
- When the Hebrew people were taken to Babylon, they were sheep among the wolves. Read the stories of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as an example of living shrewdly with innocence.