See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16
Here we are sheep and doves playing merrily along, eating grass and soaring through the air; watching to make sure we follow our leader while snakes and wolves lurk about seeking to destroy us. Aspiring immortal, take your cue. You who cling to the Mark are pure and innocent of any crime in heaven or on earth. You are clean and beautiful of soul. Some day you will dance with angels. Someday you will see God’s welcoming face.
For now, the Mark tells us to be as shrewd as venomous snakes. How can this be? How does a mystical dove, to protect itself from wolves, turn into a conniving snake? Isn’t this the same animal that lured Eve out of paradise and away from immortality by telling her that God was not to be trusted? Imagine that! Must we emulate that venomous serpent? Oh me, oh my!
Taking my hand a kind angel walks me back into the context of this Mark. “Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of Me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Dear dove, fear not; the Holy Spirit who dwells in you is the shrewd one. Listen carefully. He doesn’t give you license to kill, or slam your competitor, or steal a friend, or outwit a co-worker with pride, but we are to be shrewd by saying what the Holy Spirit tells us to say when a knife is being held to our throats, to protect and defend our precious selves.
This is another Mark of humility. God is the hand, we are the glove.