I thought I would introduce my first blog entry of the Roundup Rag with some humility, encouragement, and an overarching summary of our human prescription.

While writing chapter 19 of The Opposite is True, I sketched on loose paper what I envisioned of God’s counterintuitive mandate for us to be wise as serpents but innocent as doves, as stated in Matthew 10:16. My rough drawing is itself humbling (as seen above), but the symbolism of God’s message is much more humbling—a prerequisite to wisdom. Let me explain.

On the surface the statement appears to be a contradiction. But upon closer inspection you will discover that His directive is the most efficient parental advice a father could offer his children.

As we know, it is easiest to fight fire with fire. So, if all that you understand are the serpents, you would become angered and vengeful. You’d harden you heart into stone, and nothing, it would seem, would be able to hurt you—and you would become effective at easily hurting others. Invincible? Not quite. You would also be existing in a necrotic state of hate. Tunnel-visioned on the serpents, you would be unfulfilled and digging your corpse deeper underground as you lash out at the world.

On the other hand, if you solely live innocent as a dove (or as a child, depending on the translation), disregarding the relevance of evil and its minions, or denying evil’s existence, the cowardly nature of darkness would target you above all others as per the path of least resistance. Naiveté, denial, or ignorance of the bad guys that slither around us would put you at a grave disadvantage that would inevitably hurt you and those you love most.

We share a human obligation to consider the serpents lurking in our midst, in order to best protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, while simultaneously balancing that wisdom with maintaining, nurturing, and clinging to a soft heart. This delicate balance will ensure we remain steadfast in our noble, meaningful, and God-granted purpose.

Greg Laurie said, “Fruit grows in valleys, not on mountain tops.” So, embrace the fruits of wisdom when you are flung into the valley. Use them as nourishment, motivation, and guidance to navigate around the entanglements that the variants of serpent-parasites set as snares to trap and prevent us from reaching our goals.

Thankfully, I had a professional artist render my sketch of God’s loving directive (as seen below), in an effort to better visualize the cycle of peaks and valleys we must all endure.

The serpents will always try to pull us down and away from reaching our goals, but we must rise above them! We must carry our meaningful purpose—as represented by the olive branch—to its completion, in spite of its difficulties and our adversaries.

To add to the weight of noble accomplishments, our slimy detractors will interweave themselves into our missions and disguise themselves as allies—so be wary of the disingenuous! Regardless, pick up, consume, and carry your provisions of the fruits of wisdom—as represented by the olives—while you are humbled in the valley. Use them to energize and direct you on your meaningful journey. The Opposite is True will show you how in layered detail.