An earlier post talked about how a malicious man disguises himself, with the intent to deceive and harm others. Today’s Bible or Not quote is a popular saying that helps us deal with that. Jesus said:
“Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” – Matthew 10:16 NKJV
The original serpent in the garden caused the downfall of mankind – Satan disguised himself, deceived Eve, and brought suffering upon all mankind. Is Jesus saying that we should be “wise” like that? In a word, yes. But it’s all about intent.
As saints of God we must use wisdom and understand the ways of the world so that we can protect ourselves and our loved ones. Our intent is defensive, not offensive. And we also apply Jesus’ teaching that we are in the world, but not of the world. We are to walk circumspectly (looking all around very observantly) according to the principles of God, NOT according to the principles of the wisdom of this world.
So yes, be as wise as serpents, however, never use that wisdom to cause any harm to others, however innocuous it may seem. Be like the dove, which is the symbol of peace. We are to gain wisdom for the purpose of helping others, promoting peace and bringing others to Christ. It’s similar to something the Apostle Paul said: “in wisdom be mature adults but in malice be like little children [paraphrase].”