Matthew 10:16 Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Jesus is sending his disciples out to go spread the Gospel and warning them to be aware of their circumstances, alert about the evil around them yet be open and inviting to those they encounter. He paints a picture of opposites to make a point that they are to act one way, yet expect others to act in the opposite manner.
Wolves can devour sheep. Snakes are cunning and can get into very unusual places. Sheep are docile and almost have no natural defenses. They are open to attack. Doves are about the same. Their only defense is flight. Predators often attach both animals. Am I to be a docile, innocent, defenseless Christian? No. Jesus wants me to be open and vulnerable to people while, at the same time, not be naïve. He calls his disciples to be wise as serpents, who have good self-preservation, survival instincts.
I am to be open to others. I am to share my life experiences and my triumphs and low points.
I am called to be trusting of Jesus to be my Shepherd. He will lead me.
I am called to be aware of others who may not have the same motivation and intentions in mind. They choose to deceive. They know right from wrong but choose to the wrong path.
I am called to still go out to disciple even knowing danger may occur.
Let me be aware of my surrounding. Let me be open to others and sensitive to those around me. Help them be open to what you have to say to them