Why? Why is it so important that we be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves in the midst of a hostile environment?
I think this is the biggest misconception.
Answer: So in the midst of persecution we will proclaim, glorify and fulfill God’s purposes!
Being wise like the serpent, you are aware and judging the situation, you know when it is time to go or stay. You are always proclaiming the message, even if it is actually the Spirit speaking through you (Matthew 10:18-20).
Being harmless like a dove, you are willing to enter the most hostile environments without being hostile. Your suffering is a testimony to the grace of God.
This simple command is a call for us to act properly in the face of persecution. I will end with this quote:
“We see that Christ condemns that carnal wisdom, or rather that trickery, in which the greater part of men are too fond of indulging, while they look around them on every hand to discover how far it will be safe for them to proceed; and thus, from an unwillingness to encounter danger, they renounce the call of Christ.”