In the life of a Christian, the first wolf is the old nature, the flesh, and the second wolf is the Spirit living within us – the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is now at work in us!
These two natures are opposed to one another, at war with each other. The flesh doesn’t want what the Spirit wants, and the Spirit doesn’t want what the flesh wants.
Before we were Christians, we were chucking out scraps to the bad wolf, the flesh, all the time. We were enemies of God, dead in our sins, blind to what we were doing. Sometimes this wolf looks nice and friendly, but we mustn’t be fooled – it is like sin, if we put our hands in its jaw, it will bite us and tear us down!
But when we come to Christ, the Spirit lives within us, so now there is a battle going on – we are told to flee from sin, to pursue righteousness. We know that Jesus will overcome and that the Spirit is more powerful than the flesh: both wolves are always hungry, but they are not equal; there’s no comparison – it’s like a bad Jack Russell and a good Great Dane!
Even though we know who wins ultimately, and we have died to sin and are no longer under its power, we can still sin – we can still choose which wolf we feed. Internally we’ve been changed, but there is a maturity process of sanctification whereby we are changing and becoming more like Jesus.
We can either help with this process or hinder it. Whatever we feed, will grow. If we feed lust, anger, envy, unforgiveness, greed, anxiety, selfish ambition, pride and other such things, they will grow in our lives. The only way to get rid of these things is to starve them or kill them!
The way we master sin is by starving its desires – starving the flesh – but also, more importantly, turning our attention and affection somewhere else, feeding a different set of desires – those of the Spirit, such as love, hope, generosity, patience, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, peace, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.
What do you find it easy to feed? Christian maturity is about growing in character – giving your life to God, surrendering everything to Him, and walking with Him. We find victory by knowing we are dead to sin, that it no longer has power and authority over our lives, and by choosing daily to crucify the flesh and feed the fruits of the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit.Download the sermon 'Feeding the Right Wolf' here.
Image: 'Wolf Park' by Debs