How to be trained in flesh control and Spirit walking
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside of all people. He said, "My son, it is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed".
The Bible takes this story a step further and colorfully describes the battle we fight between our own fleshly desires, and the desires of the Spirit. Galations 5:16-23 admonishes us, to
Let the Holy Spirit guide our lives
We are to choose to live freely; animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then we won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with our God-given free spirit. Our sinful nature wants us to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants for us. And, these two forces are constantly fighting each other- just like the wolves that were described in the old Cherokee tale.
The Message’s translation of Galatians 5:19-21 says that if we choose to feed the desires of our sinful nature, and try to get our own way all of the time, we will live a life that displays “repetitive, loveless, and cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness, trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness, cutthroat competitiveness; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; and ugly parodies of community.”
Our flesh hasn’t been trained to decline itself or to decline others
Our own impulses, combined with those of our culture, press us toward excess. It’s our basic instinct to feed the compulsions of our self-interest and our mortal enemy, the devil, wants to keep us in that misery that Galatians 5 outlines.
We aren’t serving God and making a difference in His Kingdom because we are too busy serving ourselves!
In John 10:10 it says that “the thief comes only to steal, kill & destroy.” He comes to steal the life of peace and joy that God intends for His children- and he does it without us even knowing it. There are times when he doesn’t even have to blatanly try to cause us to stumble, because we are busy making our own choices to feed our selfish flesh. (YUCK, I’m guilty of this!)
But there’s hope, there’s a bright, strong and real hope!
We have a Savior! Someone who came to save us from ourselves, from the devil and from a life of defilement. John 10:10 goes on to say that Jesus came for us- He came so that we could have life and freedom, and we could have these things in abundance. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh. God has broken the chains of our flesh and we are to deny ourselves, and keep ourselves from submitting again to the yoke and bondage of our sinful desires.
We are to train ourselves in flesh control and Spirit walking
We do this by feeding our souls and starving the desires of the flesh. And, as we do this, God brings gifts into our lives- much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard. Gifts like affection for others, exuberance about life, and serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, and able to apply and direct our energies wisely. As we walk and abide with Christ, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
So which wolf will you feed today? Will you feed your flesh, or will you feed your spirit?