What does it mean to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”?

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” [Matthew 10:16]

Being sent by Jesus is not without its risks. And though we needn’t be afraid, we’re wise to recognize the world can be a threatening and dangerous place. It may seem to some that our emphasis on meekness, kindness, and holiness make us resemble simple sheep, clueless to the ravenous forces that surround us. But that would misread the situation. The Holy Spirit in us gives us a sharp discernment that’s not at all dulled by goodness.

Jesus advises us to maintain our high ethics without sacrificing our street smarts. We needn’t be worldly to understand how the world works. We can be good without being gullible.


Innocence doesn’t equal ignorance. Faith doesn’t make us naive. We know too well what ails this world. (Tweet this.)


Stop and think: How can I shrewdly make a strategic difference in this world?

We pray: “My Shepherd, send me into this world with Your wisdom and grace.”

(from Keepers of the Way)