Being Snake Smart

I was apprehended by a little piece of advice in Jesus’ marching orders to his little platoon, “I am sending you like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

I know we all get the dove part; that makes Sunday School sense. Very spiritual. But Shrewd as Snakes?? Yup! That is Jesus too.

It is a dangerous world. Jesus knew how vicious the wolves were and how fickle the crowds could be. He even went on to outline the opposition his disciples would encounter: Religious Persecution (10:17), Governmental Persecution (10:18-20) and Cultural Persecution (10:21-31). Do not forget—these were the days of the coliseums and crosses and wolves in sheep’s clothing.

We too have dangers to navigate today. Is it any wonder Jesus commends being Snake Smart? Meaning– Shrewd. Not gullible. Not naïve. Not taken in by every conspiracy theory. Not having our head in the sand. Street smart. Wise. Even cunning in the good sense of the word. It might not sound very Christian but “shrewd as snakes” is in our training manual. Do not opt for shrewd or innocent. Choose both.

How to Pray for Political Leaders

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority…” – 1 Tim. 2:1-2a

1. Salvation of those who have not yet put their faith in the Jesus Christ

Political leaders, like all people, need the forgiveness of sins and the new life that comes through putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ. “God our Savior . . .. wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Timothy 2:3b-4). Praying for the salvation of political leaders should be a top priority in a Christian’s life (Acts 4:10-12; Romans 10:9).

2. Divine Wisdom

Political leaders are regularly called upon to make very difficult decisions that affect many people. Divine wisdom is available for those who ask God for it (James 1:5).

3. Discernment

Sometimes there is a fine line between a right or a wrong decision. Every day a political leader is called upon to vote on an issue that may or may not be good for the people they represent. It is in these times they need Godly discernment (1 Kings 3:9).

4. Courage

Political expediency often trumps a political leader’s conscience. It is only with courage that a leader will trust that God is the protector and defender of all right decisions (2 Samuel 10:12).

5. Perseverance

When political leaders act courageously and make right decisions, they must be able to persevere through the pressure, tests and trials that will surely come their way. Even when their careers may be at stake, they must persevere and do the right thing (James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:7).

6. Humility

Political leaders have great power, deal with immense sums of money, and are often treated like royalty. This can quickly go to their heads and lead to arrogance and pride. Pray that God will keep them on their knees and heed His instruction; so that being led by Him they may rightly lead those they represent (1 Peter 5:5; Isaiah 66:2).

7. Teachability

When a political leader is wise and resists the temptation of pride, a teachable spirit will be evident (Proverbs 9:9; Ecclesiastes 4:13). We never know so much that God has nothing new to teach us.

8. Moral Integrity

Political leaders regularly encounter strong temptations that include greed, deceitfulness, sexual immorality, and alcohol and drug abuse. They are often away from their families for many days at a time with little to no accountability. Pray for them to have the strength to resist these temptations that can destroy their lives, families, as well as their effectiveness as leaders (Psalm 25:21; Isaiah 33:15-16).

Helping Louisiana’s Leaders,

Being Snake Smart

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