“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.”
The old King James Version says, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing.” There is something to be said about both translations.
Being aware. Jesus commands this awareness, this discernment that our world is a dangerous place and dark things come out of it. Deception is always working, the true believer must keep learning. We must identify sheep, who are not really sheep after all. They look like sheep, unless you get close. They smell like sheep. They appear gentle and kind.
But they are malignant and treacherous. Jesus chose the word, “dangerous.” We pretty much avoid anything dangerous. If there is a sign on the beach, and if it says “Dangerous Undertow,” most of us will comply and our time in the water is alert and quite aware.
There are people in the world who should have that sign, as they are treacherous and deceitful. They say many things, and there is enough there to seem authentic. As simple believers, we feel we should trust without questions. We avert our eyes to anything unseemly or aberrant. Isn’t this what a loving Christian is supposed to do?
Jesus never told us to be tolerant, at least not like this. He understands that wolves will tear apart sheep, ripping them into ribbons, if given half the chance. He commands us to exercise caution. But already there has been way too much “sheep dismemberment” in our generation. The flock has been chased and separated, many have already been devoured.
Jesus is encouraging us to become discerning and aware, and teach it to our children and friends. We shouldn’t be paranoid, or frightened by the world that swirls around us. And there will always be people with mixed motives and confusing thoughts. If we are honest, we ourselves have these same things, as we are His work in process.
Exteriors are always a big question mark. The main issue is the delicate art of observation. The more we get to know Jesus, the more we will identify what is a lie, a trick or a deception. The Secret Service of our country, in learning to understand counterfeiters will study at length the real currency. It’s interesting, they don’t study the false bills, but the real ones.
Be encouraged. He is standing right in front, making intercession for you before the Father. The Word is ours also, and there are pastors and teachers, who are shepherding the flock. You are targeted, but never forsaken. Our enemy is defeated. Do not fear, never ever fear. We have angels in high places who are our friends.