SEVEN STEPS TO OVERCOMING SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN THE MARKETPLACE:
Step #6. Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.
Matt.10:16 Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.
As we are trying to figure out what Jesus meant when He said this, don’t get too hung up on the animal types. After all, who wants to be a snake–they feel slimy and it feels like they are always sneaking up on you. Doves, on the other hand, seem pure, gentle, and beautiful; all the things we really want to be. After all, the Holy Spirit is represented as a dove. What could be better than that!
Yet, Jesus clearly said, take on a snake like characteristic: be shrewd. In fact, Jesus challenged His own followers in Luke 16, “And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.” To fight the good fight in the marketplace, the Kingdom Entrepreneur has to be both Godly and smart.
What does shrewd mean? It means to be wise, prudent and sensible. Frankly, it means that we are aware of what is in our best interest so we don’t get taken advantage of. Snakes watch out for themselves and are aware of those who don’t have their best interest at heart.
What about the dove part? Jesus calls us to the not so easy position of being shrewd, understanding of what is the best deal for us, and not being taken advantage of, while, like a dove; gentle, kind and not causing harm. It means that we exhibit much of the Fruit of the Spirit: love, peace, kindness and goodness.
How do we balance this out? How can we be both? Jesus seemed to be challenging His followers to lead with their hearts, to be as kind and gentle as He Himself usually was (though He wasn’t all the time) but to keep their heads in the game. It is not wrong to recognize that someone is taking advantage of us or that the cards are stacked against us and it might be time to challenge or withdraw from a bad deal or partnership. Discernment is part of our armor as warriors and we have to use it.
How do we make a difference in the position of influence God has given us? Make sure that the people around you know that, most of all, you care for them and love them just like Jesus does. Be kind. Be gentle. But be smart and listen to the voice of warning and be even wiser and more shrewd than the people of this world because we have the Holy Spirit guiding us.
– posted by Randall Sanford