Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. — Philippians 3:2
I’ll never forget the look that my wife gave me once when we were shopping and I picked up a “beware of dog” sign. At the time, we had one dog. He was a couch potato and wouldn’t move unless there was food involved in the situation. There was no reason for anyone to beware of that dog, which made the sign pretty funny to us both.
That’s certainly not the case with all dogs, however. In my life, I have met some ferocious dogs. I have seen dogs that have attacked people and left them with scars. I even remember working alongside police officers with their dogs as a paramedic. Their dogs were intimidating and would easily hurt someone in the right circumstance. I am always nervous around dogs that I do not know because I do not know if they are friendly dogs or not.
The words “beware of dogs” is an interesting choice of words in Philippians. There are some various ideas about where the writer drew this illustration from, but it doesn’t change the meaning. The wording is a clear warning to be careful of “dogs,” or those who were trouble. It was a reference to people who were contentious, dissatisfied, and essentially produced trouble anywhere they went. If one of these people showed up nearby, you better believe that something was going to happen.
That something is a distraction, disruption, and a disturbance that will hinder you in your Christian walk. These are not people who are going to point you toward God, but rather those who will put something between you and God. They will attempt to take you in the wrong direction and cause you more confusion and issues.
The warning is to be careful of those that we are willing to let into our lives. We must vet them thoroughly. They must prove themselves to be of true Christian character, not someone that is simply looking to cause disruption and chaos. There are too many pretenders in the world that want to tear down Christians and destroy the church. They often appear to be nice from a distance. They sometimes appear as great politicians or charismatic leaders, but underneath the surface, their motives are not that of uplifting God and the Christian faith. We must beware of the “dogs” and keep our eyes focused on God!
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