Flesh vs. Spirit

Galatians 5:17. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

There is a legend that is said to have started with an old Cherokee Indian relating this story to his grandson:

“There is a battle going on inside me.  The black wolf inside is anger, jealousy, pride, hatred, and all the other ugly things we do and say,” said the grandfather.

“The white wolf is kindness, joy, peace, love, hope, forgiveness, and compassion.”

The grandson thought quietly for a few minutes.  Then he asked, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?”

“The one that I feed,” replied Grandfather.

I first heard this story when I was a little girl in Sunday school. The teacher used it to explain to us that the flesh in this verse, the black wolf, is made up of all the sinful things the human heart contains.

The white wolf, the Spirit, is the result of allowing the Holy Spirit of God to lead us and control our thoughts and actions.

How do we feed the flesh?  Simple.  We ignore God’s Word.  We don’t pray.  We don’t fellowship with other believers who love us and have our best interests at heart. We fill our hearts and minds with all that satisfies our fleshly desires.

We feed the Spirit by communion with God through His Word, through prayer, through hearing good, biblically-sound preaching, by being with other believers who are strong in the Lord.

Paul says that the Spirit and the flesh are so contrary to each other that  we cannot do what we know we should.  If that statement sounds familiar to you, it’s because Paul says it even more strongly in Romans 7: 15-25.

This is not about losing one’s salvation. It is about drifting away from the freedom of grace and living a life bound up in sin and fear because we have forgotten the freedom that grace allows.

 Walk in the Word.  Walk with the wise. Walk in the Spirit.

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