Do you ever have those times in life where a “theme” is developing? Where somehow multiple sources are communicating an idea or thought to you? I’m going through one of those times. Perhaps it’s my experimentation with silence and solitude where I am able to better hear and see these things.
But for the past couple months I’ve not been able to get out of my head “beware of a wolf in sheep clothing”. I’ve always struggled with this idea of the "wolf", because there are so many verses about not judging others (actually, even in the same chapter where we are warned of the wolves, Matthew 7 – it also says not to judge)… so then how do we cope with or point out wolves without judging them? And since I have this constant mantra going on in my head for a couple months now, I was not sure what I was supposed to do with this "warning".
Well, this week I had more thoughts draw me into this theme. First, in reading Sacred Rhythms, I was struck by a quote about how we are not to read scripture for simply passing along knowledge, but we are to read scripture for how it speaks to us on a personal level. And just shortly after reading this, I saw someone post this quote from Winston Churchill – “The only thing worse than a wolf in sheep clothing is a sheep in sheep clothing”. As if this wasn’t enough to speak to me… last night when helping my son with his weekly school Bible verse, his verse was the second half of Matthew 10:16 – “…therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.”
And so the message to me has now developed – I’m not to be concerned about the wolf, rather I’m NOT to be a sheep to any person at any time… we are only to follow Christ. As it says in Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us.” And when we are shrewd and innocent to only following Christ, then we are sheep that “shall not want” to follow anyone else (Ps 23). And we are led to green pastures and still waters as only THE Shepherd can lead us.
So I’ve come to recognize that this warning I feel I’m receiving isn’t so much about the wolf as much as it is about being led astray… to be shrewd AND innocent.