This Verse Says You Should Be Like Satan

You shouldn’t ignore evil; it won’t ignore you.

Pretending like Satan doesn’t exist is a mistake. That’s exactly what he wants. He’s subtle: telling half truths, using our weaknesses against us.

Kool Cats Photography (CC)

Sometimes it’s easier to act like evil isn’t real because acknowledging it can be terrifying. Fear not. Jesus gave us some good advice on how to deal with evil. When He sent His disciples out to preach the good news He told them that they were in danger:

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Matthew 10:16a

Without awareness of the wolves you are more vulnerable to temptation, more likely to stumble, more likely to play their game. This is why Jesus told the disciples to be like Satan in one regard:

Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16b

You see what He did there?

The Michael Corleone Guide to Defeating Satan

In the Godfather Part II, after having been betrayed, Michael Corleone says the infamous phrase: “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

While it doesn’t translate exactly (obviously God should be closer), it is a good approximation of what Jesus was trying to tell his disciples. Jesus was intentional when he used the word “snakes”, calling to mind Eden and the fall of man:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. Genesis 3:1

Jesus alluded to Satan which is why He made sure to append the statement with “innocent as doves.”

The Merriam-Webster definition of shrewd is:

Having or showing an ability to understand things and to make good judgments : mentally sharp or clever

I’m not going to argue with Merriam or Webster (I heard they’re pretty tough), but although this definition is accurate it sounds too positive. Wouldn’t you agree that there is a negative connotation associated with the word? If someone called you shrewd would you take it as a compliment?

But if you are shrewd and innocent it means that you are wise yet uncompromising. Crafty yet pure.

In order to defeat Satan you have to think like him while at the same time maintaining innocence. Pretending like he doesn’t exist is a good way to get eaten by wolves. But playing his game is a good way to go to hell.

If you understand Satan’s tactics, his lies, you’ll be much better equipped to combat him.

And don’t forget one thing. In reality, Jesus already defeated Satan on a hill called Calvary.

Check out C.S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters for an interesting play on this subject. Then click here to subscribe!

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