Shrewd but Innocent

One of my friends is fond of referring to himself and anyone in law enforcement and military as “sheepdogs.” They are the ones who are vigilant among the sheep to watch out for the wolves. Some refer to this as “cop instincts” and anyone who has been in law enforcement knows what I’m talking about. Funny how Jesus predicted this centuries ago.

It seems what Jesus is warning against here is naïveté. Don’t be gullible. The gullible believe everything they hear and are not cautious. This seems odd since Christians are to believe in the Lord’s protection and walk even where “angels fear to tread.”

But the apostle John hints at this kind of caution when he tells us to “test the spirits” in 1 John. Test the teaching. Test the situation. I would add “remember the Gibeonites.” They fooled Joshua into taking them in (instead of being destroyed) by putting on old clothes and taking moldy bread, claiming they came from a far country, instead of being neighbors. They feared Israel and her God and were afraid for their lives. Israel was fooled because, and the text says this explicitly, they did not inquire of God.

I’ve taken in several times. I should have known better, but I was young once, and believed the stories before I had more experience. Jesus warns us that people will try to take you in their deception, people will try to manipulate in the name of Christian charity. We must have cop instincts when it comes to those who “need something” from us or want to teach us something new. Always test the spirits, the intentions, the doctrines they want to tell against the finished doctrine of Christ, the Scripture.

God bless you today

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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