In my reading today out of Luke 10, verse 3 caught my attention; Jesus was sending 72 disciples out and gave them this warning:
‘Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.’ (Luke 10:3 NLT)
I started to do a word study on this verse and was brought to Matthew 10:16 in the Amplified –
‘Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves.’
Once I got a hold of this verse, I started reading the original Greek and the meanings of the words used. In the original Greek the word ‘ἀκέραιοι’ is used, which is the word for harmless. In this scripture the meaning is translated to ‘unmixed’ or ‘unadulterated’. So we are to be ‘unmixed into the society around us’.
We have been told several times by Jesus, that we are to stand apart, to stand out. We cannot shine our light as a beacon unto others if we are living the lifestyles of those around us in the dark world that unbelievers inhabit.
‘So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise’ (Ephesians 5:15 NLT)
‘Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.’ (Philippians 2:14-16 NLT)
This doesn’t mean we are to turn our backs on those, we are to reach out to our neighbors and share the Love of Christ. But this doesn’t mean we are to follow the practices of those who do not believe, instead we need to show them the light that we have in us, the light that Jesus has given us. Jesus has given us joy and peace, and we know from experience that the empty hole the unbelievers are trying to fill, can only be filled with GOD’s love – so we need to reach out to them and share with them that love.
We are not to be naïve and so simple in our thoughts and think that we can join in the behaviors of the world we live in and NOT have the light we carry snuffed out. Our light can be dimmed by the actions of those around us, when we follow the worldy ways and turn from the love of the Father. Some feel when they have sinned, that they might as well keep running from GOD, because HE doesn’t want them or that they don’t deserve the forgiveness and love that GOD has for them. But that’s all a lie of the devil, GOD loves a repentant heart, there is nothing we can do that can turn our Heavenly Father’s love away.
‘The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.’ (Psalm 51:17 NLT)
We have to use wisdom and caution when we are around unbelievers, that they might not bring us out of the place where we belong, but still able to share our love and light with them with not only our words, but with our actions as well.
‘Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].’ (Colossians 4:6-7 AMP)
We can only gain the wisdom we need through time in GOD’s Word, when we put distance between GOD and ourselves, we cast a shadow on our own lives and thoughts. We need the Word of GOD, like our bodies need food, when we are created as new creations in Christ; we are just babies in Christ. Like a baby requires milk to grow, we require the Word of GOD to grow in maturity in Christ; we NEED the Word of GOD. Placing the Word of GOD in us, gives us the fuel we need to grow and the strength we need to fight the enemy. The times in my life when I have slacked in my Bible reading, is the times in my life that the enemy was able to attack me. If we are attacked when we haven’t eaten, we are weaker and less able to defend ourselves. Like the physical, when we haven’t fed ourselves with the Word of GOD, that’s when the enemy will strike, knowing we are weak and less able to defend ourselves.
We are like sheep among the wolves, the wolves don’t want to play with us and become our friends. They want to devour us, we are prey, and we are seen as weak and vulnerable. This is why we must be like serpents, we are to be wise – but unlike the serpent of the Garden (Satan) we are to be harmless – without deception. I guarantee you a sure fire way to stand out in today’s world, is to have integrity and honesty; I’ve seen more people ‘attracted to my honesty’, after I’ve admitted my wrong and asked for forgiveness, than any other time. The enemy tries to whisper lies and tell us because we are Believers, we are supposed to be perfect and we can’t make mistakes, BUT that would mean that Jesus didn’t need to die on the cross for our sins – because Jesus was the only perfect person, HE was the only one worthy. So we will sin, we will make mistakes, we will fall down, but what sets us apart is that we know even though we have fallen short of the Glory of GOD, we are not forgotten, we are not down trodden, we are a beloved Child of GOD! After writing down trodden (not a word I would normally use, my brain went blank, so I went to google to see where it brought me next, and I love how GOD uses everything for his Glory, so I’ll end with his Word and this commentary from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary).
Psalm 74:18-23 NLT
See how these enemies insult you, Lord.
A foolish nation has dishonored your name.
Don’t let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves.
Don’t forget your suffering people forever.
Remember your covenant promises,
for the land is full of darkness and violence!
Don’t let the downtrodden be humiliated again.
Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name.
Arise, O God, and defend your cause.
Remember how these fools insult you all day long.
Don’t overlook what your enemies have said
or their growing uproar.
The psalmist begs that God would appear for the church against their enemies. The folly of such as revile his gospel and his servants will be plain to all. Let us call upon our God to enlighten the dark nations of the earth; and to rescue his people, that the poor and needy may praise his name. Blessed Saviour, thou art the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Make thy people more than conquerors. Be thou, Lord, all in all to them in every situation and circumstances; for then thy poor and needy people will praise thy name.