“Be ye therefore … harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
The word “harmless” means “pure, innocent, inoffensive.” A dove is first mentioned in the Bible story of Noah. “He sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground. But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot” (Genesis 8:8-9). Only the unclean raven could feed on ruin, death and corruption that was the result of the flood.
The dove is first mentioned in the New Testament at the baptism of the Lord: “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him” (Matthew 3:16). Our Lord is, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26). Now He wants us to be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). Do we find our rest and joy in Him and seek to emulate His life of purity and harmlessness?