Recently I came across an old Cherokee Indian legend. An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me and you too”, he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil. The other is good”. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed”.
As born again children of God we have two natures battling within us. The old earthly nature – our ‘flesh man’; the part of us that wants our own way, to do whatever pleases us. At the same time there is our new nature – our human spirit made alive to God through Holy Spirit living with us. This nature wants to do what is good and pleasing to God. These two natures battle within us. The apostle Paul recognised this only too well and puts it so clearly in Romans 7:19-25.
What was a revelation to me through this Cherokee Indian story was that both wolves (natures) want feeding. The more I feed one, rather than the other, the stronger it grows, and the weaker the other becomes. I have a choice to make every day, maybe every hour of the day; which nature (wolf) will I feed? My old nature loves lust, gossip, anger, backbiting, pride, unforgiveness, self-seeking; in fact it isn’t a fussy ‘eater’ at all – it loves everything that God hates! My new nature really loves the things of God – reading His Word, prayer, time spent with God, helping others, thinking the best of people, forgiving them. It especially loves the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22-23 and could enjoy as much of that as I care to give it.
The truth is I have a choice. Do I really want to feed the old nature or do I want to feed the new one? I can’t properly feed both, although sometimes I think I can. When I try to I just end up deeply frustrated and feel pulled in different directions (which, spiritually speaking, I am). What about you dear reader? Which nature (wolf) are you feeding most of the time?
Prayer: Dear Lord, I’m so sorry I’ve found myself feeding my old earthly nature time and time again. Help me to recognise what I’m feeding - to stop and consider what I’m thinking about, reading about, looking at, and to ask You to show me what I’m really feeding. From today please help me to starve that old nature to death; to stop giving it even a morsel from my body, mind, will, emotions and spirit, Instead, by Your grace I’ll do all I can to feed my spirit nature. Amen.
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