Jesus taught his disciples to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” There is a human tendency to focus only on one side of the coin- wise as serpents. Why? Because we are all naturally self-protective. When I read this scripture and think of myself as being a sheep among wolves, that can sound pretty intimidating. But I must remember, I have a shepherd who is watching over me, and leading me. If we put too much emphasis on being “wise as serpents” we may forget the other important part of Christs admonition; Be harmless as doves. Doves are a pretty harmless bird and are commonly known as the “Bird of Peace.”
Harmless: Inoffensive; not causing harm or damage
Harm: (1) To injure physically, morally, or mentally; (2) moral evil or wrongdoing.
I believe this subject is of paramount importance in order to be a proper representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. There has been so much misrepresentation of Christ and mainly because people are not laying down their lives in truth; they are not truly crucifying self. It takes a crucifixion- a dying to self, to be able to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We have to forsake the self-preservation, knowing that our life is hid in Christ, and it is eternal. Physical death cannot take away the life we have in Jesus Christ.
Our job as a Christian is not to condemn the world; the world is already condemned: That is why God sent his Son, Jesus Christ. (John 3: 16-21)
Our job is reconciliation- in reaching for the lost, that should be our central focus. When we say we want souls to be saved, we should essentially be saying, that our burdened is to reconcile all the world to the one and only true and living God, through his intercessor the LORD Jesus Christ. We want people to be reconciled- brought to a right relationship with God-restored. That should be our only goal in discipling souls. If we keep that focus clear, and are prayerful and careful, we will be harmless.
In 1 Corinthians 13, we read how charity, or love, is the way of the Christian. Without it, all our efforts are vain.
Charity suffers long, and continues to be kind; charity doesn’t envy others; charity does not brag about itself not is arrogant, does not behave in a rude way, is not self-seeking, is not easily provoked, doesn’t keep accounts on every evil someone does; Charity does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; … 1 Cor. 13: 4-6
The way of the Holy Spirit is harmless. Jesus was harmless. There were times when he called out wrong for what it was, because repentance is necessary to be reconciled and souls need to know that there is a way that seems right but it is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12) But Christs objective was always reconciliation to the Father.
***Remember, people will not always remember what we say or what we do, but they will never forget how we made them feel.
In our world today, and throughout time, Christ has been so misrepresented and his name has been misused and abused. We will give an account to God one day for how we represented him. It is a serious thing to name the name of Christ.