Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Be As Shrewd As A Snake

Tim Challies recently wrote a very good blog entry entitled 6 Reasons Why Sexual Predators Target Churches. His article is very good, a must read for all Christians. The thing is, we need to keep in mind that it's not just sexual predators that target churches, it's also con men and hucksters of all makes and models.  

We don't like to admit it, but we've all seen it, the church is constantly under attack not just in overt ways but covert ways as well. We've seen the false teachers overtly perverting the word of God, we've seen the bookstores taking Christians' hard earned money for tomes of sugarcoated blasphemy. But we've also seen things like pedophiles preying on our children, and people preying on our older saints for their money.

As Tim pointed out, the reason we are being attacked is simple: Christians tend to be naïve. We tend to be kind hearted We want to think the best of people. We don't want to be "judgmental". I've seen it in action: we want to do the right thing, to do what Jesus would want us to do, to give to those that appear to be in need. 

We as Christians hang out with other Christians so we tend to think that most people think like we do. This is not an unusual thing, I know people here in Colorado that live for marijuana, they can't imagine spending a day sober, and they think that everyone else in the state is like them because the majority of the people they associate with are perpetually stoned too. These folks refuse to believe they are in the minority, as do heavy drinkers and folks with other proclivities that are done with peers, but that's the way the mind God gave us works. 

However Jesus warned us about these attacks and told us how to deal with them
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
Tim Challies used this verse in his article on sexual predators, and for me it's one of those verses that I've read a dozen times and it doesn't ring a bell until it's put into context for me the way Tim did. Jesus is warning his disciples that the people they're going to meet are not interested in their best interests and to be prepared, they may attack. If you notice that Jesus tells them to keep a watchful eye out when dealing with people, to be smart about their interactions like a serpent the craftiest of beasts, yet at the same time maintain the innocence of doves while knowing wolves may attack at any second.

That's good advice for all of us as we grow closer to the end times, to be smart and aware of our surroundings knowing that wolves seek to devour us yet at the same time maintain our innocence in this sin sick world. Look in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: 
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Nowhere in the bible does it say 'love trusts all things' in fact there are numerous verses that call us to trust the Lord but very very few that tell us to trust anyone but Him. In fact God tells us to not trust man:
Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:5)
It is better to take refuge in the Lord Than to trust in man. (Psalm 118:8)
Brothers and sisters, we are to be loving and innocent but we are also to be wise and shrewd when dealing with men. If we are going to trust men we should trust them to be sinners, as we are too. We don't know what's in their heart when they come to us. It's ok to say "No" to someone with their hand out, especially if giving to them puts your family in dire straights. 

Be smart about charity. If someone claims to be down on their luck asks you for gas money it's perfectly all right to say "Sure, meet me at the Stop n' Go and I'll pay" rather than handing them cash. It's ok to tell them your church has a food bank and a benevolence fund. As for child predators - it's perfectly fine to stand between your child and the world to protect them. 
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
I'm not saying not to love the stranger, but I am saying what Jesus said:
be as shrewd as a snake
as innocent as a dove
and watch out for wolves

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