My wife heads up a group of ladies who make cards for those who are ill or are grieving. They learned this skill by watching videos and attending classes. They have become very good in these arts and crafts. They are true craftswomen, however, I would hesitate to call them crafty because this word has the primary meaning of cunning, deceitful, dishonest, wily and stealthy. It describes one who is skilled in underhanded and evil schemes. They, however, are just the opposite—frank, responsive, honest and forthcoming.
Unfortunately, there seem to be more and more people today who are crafty in their dealings with the public and with each other. Contracts are long and hard to decipher with lots of loopholes. Warranties and products are often not what we think was promised. Medical drugs frequently have to be recalled and class action lawsuits abound.
Jesus told His followers to, “…be wise (KJV) (shrewd NAS&NIV) as serpents and harmless (KJV) (innocent NAS &NIV) as doves.” (Mt 10:16) Obviously He wasn’t asking them to be like that old serpent the devil (Rev 12:9) (Rev 20:2) who exemplifies the true negative meaning of crafty (Gen 3:1). He is called a murderer and a liar by Jesus (Jo 8:44). He started his craftiness in the Garden of Eden and has used every deceitful method possible to enslave mankind ever since (1 Pe 5:8). He used men like King Herod who was called a (sly) fox by Jesus (Lk 13:32). The Lord condemns such men and women (Pr 12:2), and they are hated by people (Pr 14:17). Job’s so-called friend called him crafty although he was innocent (Job 5:12) (Job 15:5).
It appears quite evident that Jesus is warning His disciples to be on their guard, staying alert and being prepared to resist the devil (1 Pe 5:9). The Amplified Bible says “be wary.” We should flee to Jesus when Satan attacks because the devil has no hold on Him (Jo 14:30) (Rom 8:37). We can avoid crafty plots and becoming crafty ourselves by following the advice of the Apostle Paul, “…be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.” (Rom 16:19)