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Flesh and Spirit

A Native American legend says: An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life – “A fight is going on inside us,” he told the boy. “It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other wolf 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 me, and inside every other person too.”

The grandson thought for a moment, and he asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win the fight?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

We are no different. In fact, Paul passes down to us almost the same illustration in Galatians 5:17-23:

“The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

There is a fight going on inside us, and we are presented with a choice.

We can opt to feed our anger, our jealousy, and our ego by searching for problems, comparing ourselves to others, and taking part in groups and events that promote needless competition, backbiting, gossip, and ridicule.

Or, we can choose to engage in events and activities that grow our faith – those things which encourage joy, humble us, and lead us to participate in acts of benevolence and generosity.

These decisions show not only through the things we do, but also in the people we spend time around, the relationships we cultivate, the priorities we highlight, and even the very attitude we choose to display. Which will you choose to feed?

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