Around the first of a new year, many of us begin to update our goals and make some meaningful resolutions. Although research seems to suggest that only 8-12% of us actually keep those resolutions, it is a good time for some introspection.
Leaving aside all those good intentions associated with more exercise and less chocolate, I am more likely to stumble over spiritual goals. Like many I suspect, I start off very well intended but soon “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19)
The battle outlined in Romans 7 comes into play. “…I am a creature of the flesh, having been sold into slavery under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe.” (Amplified Bible)
It makes me think of a story told in the book “Mastering the Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success” by Andy Andrews. It says: “There is a story an old Indian man tells his grandson about a fight going on inside between two wolves. One wolf was evil and full of anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride and ego.
The other wolf was a good wolf, full of forgiveness.
The grandson asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf wins?’ The old man simply replied, ‘The one I feed.’”
Considering those two “natures” that war inside me, the question and answer are the same. Who wins? The answer: the nature that I feed.
Feeding our spiritual nature involves several important things. The most obvious is the need for God’s Word to be inculcated into our lives. Matthew 4:4 says that “man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” As we reflect on that Word, we respond in prayer. And a prayerful attitude will culminate in a season of worship (private or corporate).
As we start the New Year this week, maybe it’s a good time to check the “feeding schedule.” Let’s make sure the “good guy” wins!