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Which Wolf Are You Feeding?–The Battle Between the Spirit and the Flesh

One day, a young boy came crying and crawled up on his grandfather’s knee.

“What happened?” the grandfather asked the young boy.

“Today I went to town with father to trade the furs we had collected over the past few months. He said that since I had been such a big help to him this season, he would buy me something at the trading post. They had many nice things, Grandfather, and after looking over each one, I decided upon a knife. It wasn’t a big knife, but it was just the right size for me. As Father was paying, I went outside to get a better look at my knife in the sunlight. Some other kids were out there and immediately started calling me names. Before I knew it, they were pushing me back and forth. Finally, I fell and dropped my knife. One of the boys grabbed it and ran away with it.” The boy’s sorrow turned to anger. “And I hate them, Grandfather. I hate them all!”

The grandfather nodded, then sighed. Lifting his grandson’s face to look into his eyes, he said, “Let me tell you about when I was your age. I, too, at one time felt a great hatred toward those who took from others and held no regret for their actions. Over the years, I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is like there are two wolves inside me—one white, the other black. The white wolf is good and does no harm. He only fights when it is right to do so. Otherwise, he is calm and thinks with clear thoughts. The black wolf, on the other hand, is full of anger. He is always ready to fight and is clouded by his anger to where he cannot think straight or make the right decisions. I understand, Grandson, how difficult it is to live with these two wolves inside you. It is like they are fighting a battle for control, am I right?”

The young boy wiped his tears and nodded. “Yes, Grandfather.” After a moment of silence, the boy spoke up again. “But which of the wolves do you think will win, Grandfather?”

The grandfather smiled. “Whichever one you feed, my boy.”

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The above story is an old Indian legend, but its message is still relevant today and in line with biblical teaching. As Christians, we struggle each day with two “wolves” in the form of our flesh and the Holy Spirit. Each fights for control every hour of every day, and the winner is determined by whichever one we give in to. When we give in to anger, the flesh wins. When we give in to discontentment, the flesh is the victor. When we feed our flesh with thoughts of bitterness, revenge or guilt, the flesh only grows stronger. If we want the “white wolf” to win the victory, we need to start feeding it instead of our fleshly desires. How? The best place to begin is Philippians 4:8-9.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

The instructions are simple though that’s not to say they are easily followed. Step one is to control our thoughts. Negative thoughts and attitudes have no place in the mind of a believer. They need to be done away with. Dwelling on the wrong thoughts will only lead to wrong actions.

Step two is to do the things we know the Spirit wants us to do. Don’t question His orders. Don’t try to understand the logic behind them. And don’t make excuses for why it can’t be done. Just do it, and leave the results up to Him.

The more we practice Philippians 4:8-9, the more we’ll be feeding the proper “wolf” and the weaker the black wolf will become. It will take time and dedication, but in the end, you’ll be glad you fed the right wolf.

What are some other ways you can feed the “white wolf”?

About Dana Rongione

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Dana is a full-time Christian author and speaker residing in Greenville, SC with her husband and two dogs. In fulfilling her call to evangelize the lost and edify the saints, Dana spends her days writing devotions, devotional books and books for children, as well as recording podcasts on various Biblical topics. She serves in many capacities at her local church, including the roles of church pianist and ladies' Sunday School teacher. Dana has a passion for souls and longs to be used of God in whatever way He deems necessary. When not writing or serving at church, Dana can most likely be found reading or hiking a nearby trail.

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