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Light in the Gathering Gloom: Day 4

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

The newly-minted disciples were being sent out by Jesus to share the good news of the kingdom to the lost sheep of Israel.

If the pastor quoted this verse in his final circle-up prayer before the youth group left on the summer mission trip—the bus would probably leave the parking lot empty! But, Jesus never uttered an unnecessary or unhelpful word. More than that, He spoke timeless truth, never more appropriate than now.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention tells a story about a conversation he had with a young woman who identified herself as a lesbian progressive activist. She was curious about Christianity, its historic beliefs and its viewpoints, especially on morality and marriage.

When Moore explained that Christians believed marriage could only be between a man and a woman, she laughed and said, “So do you see how strange what you’re saying sounds to those of us out here in normal America?” We have a population, even in our churches, that has been marinated in the popular culture. Sadly, our kids often have two sets of beliefs: one for church and one for their “normal” friends.

We can take nothing for granted in a world that takes no prisoners where morality and spiritual truth are concerned. Like the men of Issachar, we need to understand our times (1 Chron. 12:32) and fight the war we have today, not the war of 1982.

How, then, does one fight innocently without getting creamed? We fight in the truth of the Word and the power of the Spirit. The biggest temptation we all face is to compromise the truth to achieve a temporary acceptance. But to be “innocent,” as the Greek word means “without deceit or mixed motives.”

The pure, unadulterated truth is that this is not our battle; the battle belongs to the Lord. We are called to put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:14-18) and do the part He has given us. But the victory is His and only He can accomplish it.

Actually, that is really good news…

Nancy Shirah

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