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Wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove

Do you sometimes feel the tension between feeling like you are being taking advantage of and feeling like you are taking advantage of other people? What does it really mean to be wise as a serpent gentle as a dove? What does it have to do with overcoming spiritual warfare? 

Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:

Wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” - Matthew 10:16 

Spiritual warfare is an active aggression by the enemy to intimidate us and keep up from realizing God’s plan for our life and business. It is the daily struggle we face as Christians as we attempt to obey Jesus’ instructions. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus says to His disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves…” This is not just true for the early disciples, it is true for us today as well. Each day as we go into the marketplace, as we go through our daily lives, we are operating among wolves. Why wolves? Wolves are aggressive predators who intentionally try each day to bring harm to their prey and they love sheep. Sheep on the other hand are weak and vulnerable, and without their shepherd, they can not survive the wolf’s attack. Like sheep, we must carefully obey the instructions of our shepherd and stay close to the Master if we are to survive. With this in mind, Jesus gave His disciples some instructions that they must follow to protect themselves. He tells them, 

“Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” 

He takes two animals whose characteristics are complete opposite and instructs them to mirror them. One of the animals he instructs them to mirror, is the very beast that the Devil used to cause Adam and Eve to sin against God in the garden. While the other, is the sacrificial animal typically used in worship before God. The Bible presents the snake as the symbol of evil power and chaos while a dove is a symbol of purity and innocence. Why does Jesus take such polar opposites to prepare us to survive? Both animals represent characteristics that we need as Christians if we are going to overcome the daily predatory aggression of the enemy. One alone will not do. If we act just like the serpent, we will be used by the evil one to bring harm to others and if we act just like the dove, the evil one will have us for lunch and it will not be a holy sacrifice. If we operate in both to the extreme, we will manifest a blended personality trait that will fight off the works of the devil while forwarding Christ’s agenda. 

Wise as Serpents 

  • Crafty or Shrewd 
  • Cunning 
  • Dark 
  • They operate by instincts 
  • External protection 
  • Unclean 
  • Stubborn 

Harmless as doves 

  • Innocent 
  • Peaceful 
  • Light 
  • Trusting 
  • Sacrificial 
  • Pure/Clean 
  • Gentle 

Wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove is the ability to operate offensively with gentleness and a pure heart. It is how Abraham was able to layout the foundation for the Hebrews to become a nation. It is how Jesus was able to realize the assignment that God the Father gave Him. It is how Paul was able to expand the Kingdom of God more than any of his contemporaries. What about the dark and evil representation of the snake? The truth is, the snake unto itself is not an evil beast. God created the snake as He did all animals. The snake just possesses characteristics that make it easy for the Devil to use as a tool for evil. The snake itself is not evil or the Devil’s property. It all belongs to God. My prayer for you today is that God will give you the grace to be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove so you may overcome spiritual warfare in the marketplace. Reflection: How does this devotion compare with your current handling of issuesShare these devotionals with a friend or co-worker by directing them to our email signup page at what you read? Support us as a Partner, visit
Posted on Thursday, 07 April 2022

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