Innocent as Doves [Matthew 10:16 Devotional]

innocent as doves devotional cover image. a purple background with thick black font that has the words of matthew 10:16 on it.

How to Be Shrewd as Snakes and Innocent as Doves [Matthew 10:16 Daily Devotional]

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Matthew 10:16

Jesus is sending out his followers on a tough assignment. Most of the people they encounter on their mission may not like them, but Jesus is sending them anyway. He then tells them to be as shrewd (sharp-witted, intelligent) as snakes. Snakes aren’t deceived by much and they know when to run and when to fight, which is a necessary skill. However, they weren’t just told to be like snakes, which are often considered evil. They were also told to be innocent as doves. Sharp-witted but not tainted by this world. It’s a tough balance to maintain, but it’s a balance to which Jesus calls us.

How to Be Shrewd as Snakes and Innocent as Doves

Just as Jesus called his followers back then to be as sharp as snakes and as innocent as doves, he’s called you to be that way, too. Your workplace, school, gym, and everywhere else you interact is your mission’s field. Jesus, in this simple verse, is telling you how to be effective when you’re in these places.

First, you want to make sure you’re sharp. I don’t know if you’ve encountered this at all, but there are some people who just don’t like Christians. You should be prepared to defend your faith, but not argumentatively. Purposefully acting dimwitted about your faith is a sure way to get pounced on by anyone looking for a fight with a Christian. This means you should always be seeking ways to improve your knowledge of God because in that knowledge you should also increase in love.

While intelligence is important, how you act is more important. Being innocent and showing others that it’s possible to live a Jesus-centered life is the most important statement you can make. This isn’t a part you talk about often, though; you want others to see it and want it for themselves. The more you love and serve others, the more people will want to be around you. And when that happens, the more people will become more like you as you become more like Jesus.


Jesus, thank you for the opportunity to become more like you. Help me to be a good and loving example of who you are. Give me wisdom and intelligence as I navigate the world around me, and also keep me pure and centered on you. It’s in your name I pray, amen.

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