I have spent the morning thinking about choices. Choices I have made in the past, choices my children, grandchildren, friends, and acquaintances have made. My conclusion, none of us are perfect, but some of us continue to make the same bad choices thinking they are good choices. I look around me and it seems like we think right is wrong and wrong is right. My gosh, I am amazed.
As I sat on my couch this morning pondering, praying, reading, and talking with the wife, I latched onto two illustrative concepts; one from the Apostle Paul and the other from the Cherokees. Both make the same point.
Paul states in Romans 6 verses 12 and 13, “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. “ In Romans 6 Paul tells us there is a war that goes on inside of us. This war is won or lost based upon choices we make. In verse 16 Paul states, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness.” Paul describes what goes on inside of each of us as we live our lives. To some level all of us experience two voices within us. One that leads us to do good, and one that leads us to do evil.
The Columbian newspaper is selling coffee mugs with the following words written on them, “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff.” I love it, and one of these days when I am downtown I will stop in and buy one. Although the message was originally pointed at the M&M boys, our illustrative County Commissioners, I think it applies to all of us. Don’t do stupid stuff. It is sad to watch someone who used to believe a certain way, leave that and begin the journey into darkness. Darkness is used figuratively here and could mean many different things. It could be into a certain type of group, a certain boy or girl friend, or a certain type of lifestyle. They just quit trying to fight the good fight. I have heard people say that they just don’t want to give up this or that, and the result is a life of doing stupid things.
The question is how does this happen? Why does someone just give up, and stop doing the good they once did? This is where the Cherokee parable comes into play. The story goes like this:
“One evening, an elderly
Cherokee brave told his
Grandson about a battle that
Goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is
Between two wolves inside us all.
One is evil. It is anger,
Envy, jealousy, sorrow,
Regret, greed, arrogance,
Self-pity, guilt, resentment,
Inferiority, lies, false pride,
Superiority, and ego.”
Just as a side note Paul describes similar elements as the bad wolf in Galatians 5:19, “the acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”
The grandfather continued:
The other is good.
It is joy, peace love, hope serenity,
Humility, kindness, benevolence,
Truth, compassion, and faith.
Paul describes the very same thing in Galatians as the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
The grandson thought about his grandfather’s words and then asked:
Which wolf wins?
The old Cherokee simply replied,
The one you feed.”
We see this truth played out at so many levels in our society. We see a young man feed the wolf of hatred and shoots classmates because he thinks they don’t like him. We see people give up on faith because they like to have “fun.” They like their alcohol. We see managers make stupid decisions because they want the short-term benefits of profit, instead of long-term craftsmanship.
We are becoming so narrow-minded and focused on short-term pleasure that we have forgotten the consequences of choosing the bad wolf. May we never give up the good fight! May we always seek God and His expression in our lives! If we do that we will have less of a chance at doing wrong and stupid stuff.
And that is my thought for the day!