“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves,” he said in Mathew 7:15. In Matthew 10:16, he added, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
People like wolves? More specifically, CHURCH people like wolves? Child-like innocence would want to bat away the idea of such corruption and choose a pet perspective of others. But a wolf-mentality is not to be petted. Jesus insisted that we were to be wise regarding the work of the adversary. Satan uses people to bring about his plan of destruction just as God uses people for his plan of blessing and life. It’s imperative to realize that the enemy often gains trust of the saints by using fellow church attendees, then works against them through these same people. But just because a coyote is on the farm does not mean he is a domestic animal. Wisdom doesn’t want to make pets of what doesn’t belong in the church. Wisdom is discerning and protects itself against the sudden bite of the adversary. It doesn’t extend its hand to stroke the dangerous. As colloquialisms say, it looks beyond skin deep and doesn’t judge a book by its cover. Face value is discarded in favor of discovering the heart. Heart discovery takes place through prayerful relationship. The heart is exposed during greater intimacy with others, and the revelations of that exposure are handled wisely through greater intimacy with God.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing look like a follower of the Shepherd, but they aren’t. While they cluster in packs, uncomfortable with existing alone, they aren’t to be mistaken for the herd of the Master’s sheep. Wolves have an appearance that is contradictory to their inner character; the presentation is always holier than the reality. Never do they look vile, wicked, and unbelieving only to be uncovered as an astonishingly wonderful Christian. While Christians attempt to avoid the appearance of evil in order to honor God, wolves put on a façade for personal gain. Their decay and dead men’s bones regularly reside beneath pristine, whited sepulchers. They don’t truly possess a heart full of the life of the Holy Ghost.
Church wolves are like the animals my father trapped. Those wild beasts appeared to be of the domestic variety, but they were nothing like the dogs that licked my face in happiness or the cats that purred with contented rubs against my ankles. They wouldn’t have bounded toward me in welcome or listened to my voice give an instruction. They wouldn’t have been contented with the food I provided them, nor would they have trusted in that provision. Released from their captivity, they would have run hard and fast in the opposite direction of my call, only to return to the premises with intent to kill the mild-mannered livestock we loved. Spiritual wolves run from God’s voice. Their mission does not include adapting to the lifestyle of the church. They aren’t contented to trust God or His provision. Their appetites crave what the flesh can acquire for itself. Their mission is self-gratification. Conformity to the Word is not on their agenda. Finding a mate, building a political standing, pleasing a loved one, making social connections, or pacifying conviction’s call to live right is more in keeping with their motives. They religion void of relationship. Theirs is a private agenda, not a God one. And it’s dangerous.
Sadly, the weak fall prey to those with wolf mindsets. Hypocrisy surfaces, leaving behind a trail of victims. Victimization is accomplished because wolves in sheep’s clothing look just like other sheep. They don’t, however, look like the Shepherd. They talk a spiritual talk that SHEEP like to hear. It’s a voice that appeals to reason and desire. That’s why it is imperative that the Shepherd live and rule in the hearts of his people. Without his abiding spirit as lord and without continual heeding to his voice, would-be sheep become casualties of the enemy.
Jesus intended for us to be among the wolves because only in light of the genuine is the fake exposed. Had I looked closer at my farm animals, I would have recognized the warmth in the eyes of my pets, the trust in their expression, the soft waves of fur lying against their skin. By contrast, the wild-eyed, fang glistening, snarling, hair-on-end posture of animals not belonging on our farm was contrary to these domestic features. As we are exposed to that which is in agreement with God, we can more easily discern what is not in keeping with Christ-like character, and with that knowledge, we can turn the tide on the adversary. While he attempts to use craftiness for devastation, we can employ cunning and wisdom to work against his plan. Like serpents, we infiltrate the ranks of the enemy by moving into position and living as sheep among the wolves. While wolves insist on being wolves, dove-like, the Spirit descends peacefully through our pet-perspective of love to grace the hearts of true believers and welcome real sheep home where they belong.
Tip/Tidbit: Pay attention to the voices you're listening to. Make sure they sound like the Shepherd, not a sheep, (which could prove very baaaad indeed!)