Serpents And Doves
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Serpents and doves! What two creatures could be more unlike? Yet there are characteristics of each which a Christian should have. For the lack of either he may suffer greatly and cause others to suffer.
We must be wise, keen, alert, not ignorant of Satan’s devices, trying the spirits, proving all things and holding fast that which is good. We are not to be stupid, gullible, carried about with every wind of doctrine. We need plenty of sanctified common sense, discernment, sagacity. We are to walk not as fools but as wise.
But we can become critical, coldly analytical, professional, proud of our wisdom, and fail to be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke. Our serpent sagacity must be coupled with a dovelike gentleness, else we become hard-boiled when we are only half-baked.
To be wise and yet winsome, staying simple and plain and old-fashioned and wholesome, is an attainment wrought by the Spirit. It is the exact opposite of this sophisticated age. It is the mark of a well- developed Christian.