Old mother Hubbard was out of bones. You know the story…
Old Mother Hubbard / Went to the cupboard, / To give the poor dog a bone:
When she came there, / The cupboard was bare, / And so the poor dog had none.
Well the story goes on—unendingly it seems, though the very next verse adds tragedy to misfortune,
She went to the baker’s / To buy him some bread;
When she came back / The dog was dead!
It’s a simple fact: if you don’t feed a dog, sooner or later he’s gonna die!
On the other hand, if you feed a dog well he’s gonna get strong…. He’s gonna run and take you places maybe you’ve never been before! He’s gonna dance… he’s gonna do exploits – maybe become a famous author, or WW 1 fighting ace!
Well, maybe not. But one thing is for certain: if you don’t feed it, you will never know!
This past Sunday Pastor Steve discussed the believer’s daily struggle between flesh and spirit. Paul outlined the conflict well, “…the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (Gal. 5:17). How can we win this battle?
Pastor Steve reminded us of the Native American proverb where a tribal elder teaching his grandson about life explains “A fight is going on inside me, a terrible fight between two dogs. One is evil, the other is good. This same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person, too.”
“Which dog will win?” asks the grandson.
The wise elder leans forward and looks the boy in the eye, “The one you feed.” he said. “The one you feed.”
In Galatians Paul also lists examples of the fruit of the Spirit:
“love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” (5:22, 23)
and of the deeds of the flesh:
“sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy; drunkenness, orgies…” (5:19, 20).
Which of these dominates your life is up to you. Peter reminds us that by the indwelling Holy Spirit God has “given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3). We need only to feed the right dog – and to stop feeding the wrong one!
This might mean taking an inventory of our cupboard. Perhaps there’s some items in there that need to be tossed to the trash, replaced with the more wholesome fare of the Spirit: the Word and the promises of God, the habit of prayer, the ministry of service to others, and the fellowship of the family of God.
Which dog will you feed today? Which will you refuse?