But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t think of ways to indulge your evil desires. – Romans 13:14 (NLT)
The story has been told about a grandfather trying to teach his son about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “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. The other is good– he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This 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 grandfather simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Each one who follows Christ lives with the struggle of conflicting desires and behavior. On the one hand, we want to be obedient and pleasing to the Lord. On the other hand, we still live with our natural, sinful desires that seek to please ourselves. This is real: there is tension between the two. What is clear from the Scriptures is that we become slaves to whatever we give ourselves to (see Romans 6:16) — or as the story would put it, to whichever wolf we feed.
Christ died to set us free from being slaves to sin. Though we still struggle, we can experience victory over our sinful desires. How? By focusing on God; by feeding on His Word; by receiving the nourishment that comes from pursuing our relationship with Christ who said, “I am the bread of life.” The Apostle Paul encourages us to be intentional about gaining the advantage in this struggle, saying “…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 6:11)
Today, feed the good wolf. Remind yourself that you belong to God and with the Holy Spirit’s help in your life, count yourself dead to sinful desires and behaviors and alive to Jesus.
1. What areas of your life do you experience the most conflict between living for God and living for yourself?
2. Will you commit to confessing those areas of your life to God today — and asking for God’s help to count yourself dead to sin and alive to Jesus?
Romans 7:14-8:2; Colossians 3:1-10; James 1:12-15