Good Morning Brothers…
My 10 year old son really likes to hunt, trap, and fish. He likes to get out there with his old man (that’s me) and spend the time. I enjoy the time we get to spend in the woods together. I think we are creating memories that will last throughout his life. I’m not complaining…but…it might just wear me out. Here is what I mean; much of my available time is consumed with filling deer feeders, setting and checking game trail cameras, scouting different areas to see if they are compatible to his current skill sets, moving my schedule around to accommodate his school schedule, and driving across the county to pick him up after school to utilize as much light as possible before dark, in short…I am ‘running hot’, under pressure and deadlines to administer the hunt. I know, I sound like a selfish complainer, but the point I’m making is that I spend more time ‘administering’ the hunt, than ‘hunting’ the hunt. Now…at the end of the day he is my son, and I will do whatever I need to.
Our walk with the Lord can get like this. We can find ourselves spending so much time ‘administering’ our Christian walk that we don’t actually ‘walk’ our Christian walk. All of a sudden our ‘walk’ becomes a mandated legalistic offering. How many of us read books about Christianity because we want to sit in the revelations of the Holy Spirit through the author, versus, reading the same books to regurgitate them in a class? Now there is nothing wrong with class…class is good, however, sometimes we are engaged with to many classes that the material becomes mandated to participate in the class and we can’t spend the time to just prayerfully ‘sit in’ the new ideas. Therefore, we never fully digest the revelations expressed because we are on to the next book. Back in school, we referred to people like this as ‘book smart’ but typically lacked any type of common sense. How many of us get so involved with organizing “church” events that our lives become consumed with details, phone calls, problems to overcome, scheduling conflicts, and funding issues? All of a sudden we feel like a fireman, putting out fires, left and right, as we march toward the goal. How many of us find ourselves in a counseling role, overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of other peoples problems? Our days blur together as one big mash of listening to a history of poor choices and feeling inadequate to really address the root of the problems. How many of us find ourselves ‘running hot’, under pressure to deliver by the deadline, to get the job done?
Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.“
This seems like a contradictory statement but it isn’t. The only way I can be innocent like a dove and as shrewd as a serpent is to run the race, to put out the fires left and right, but to let the Spirit lead and dictate the pace. If I pour the information from books into my head and do not prayerfully ‘sit in’ them…I become shrewd as a serpent, but lack innocence. I lack the innocence of love, joy, and peace that comes with prayerfully ‘sitting in’ the information. If I get caught up in the organizing and planning of ‘church’ events but don’t spend personal time with the Lord…I become shrewd but lack innocence. I lack the innocence of love, joy, and peace that is necessary for a ‘church’ event to truly be about Jesus and not about attendance or entertainment. If all of my answers to counseling problems are behavioral and psychological formulas developed by the world, I will be shrewd, but will lack innocence. I will lack the innocence of love, joy, and peace that is necessary for any type of real healing to occur. I do not think it a coincidence that ‘shrewd as serpents’ is listed in front of ‘innocent as doves’. Our Lord wants us to push, to read, to counsel, to schedule and organize, to learn…but then to run all of those things through Him.
We know and understand that this life, this Christian life we live, is not ours, it is His. He lives through us. We are sent out in to a world filled with wolves who would love nothing more than to feed on us. Being ‘shrewd as serpents’ is necessary for our access to the wolves. Being ‘innocent as doves’ is necessary for their conversion. If you are feeling like you are ‘running hot’, that life is a blur and it is getting more than you can manage. Go to a room where you can be alone, turn off the light, get on your knees if you are able, and pray this prayer:
“Lord in Heaven I love You…I feel like I’m running all over and not going anywhere…I want to be Your man…used by You to do whatever it is that You want me to do…help me to seek after You…help Me to pray all things through You…help me to be as shrewd as a serpent and as innocent as a dove…help me to walk my walk dear Lord…help me to receive Your grace and pour out love, joy, and peace.”