40. Be on your guard.
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard against men ..."(Matthew 10:16-17) We have been assigned a mission on hostile enemy territory but have been instructed to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel. The Church has been infiltrated by the enemy who intends to destroy it from within. 'I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock ... So be on your guard.'( Acts 20:29-31) The Apostles never allowed the Church to be divided on any lines but lashed out against all divisive forces. When Paul saw some aligning themselves under different leaders, he asked, 'Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? ... Are you not acting like mere men when one says, "I follow Paul", ...?' (1 Corinthians 1:13, 3:3) Jesus has commanded us to discern who the the enemies are by their fruits. "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them."(Matthew 7:15-16)To be 'shrewd' means 'having or showing sharp powers of judgement; astute'. 'The spiritual man makes judgement about all things but he himself is not subject to any man's judgement.' ( 2 Corinthians 2:15) As believers, we are called to be 'wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.' (Romans 16:19) Amen.