Thursday, May 17, 2018
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Several years ago on an Indian reservation, a friend there told us about an elderly neighbor of hers who had taken an unusual pet into her house. It was a half wolf and half dog. Half wild and half domesticated, and as it turned out, big trouble. One morning that wolf dog picked up the lady's granddaughter and began to carry her away. The grandmother saw it, and she screamed at the top of her lungs. The animal stopped and froze in this moment of evident struggle between his wild side and his tame side. The wolf dog looked straight at this screaming lady, totally unafraid; his wild side wasn't scared at all. His wild side wanted that child. But then in one dramatic moment, the animal dropped the child and let her go. The tame side finally won, but there were still a lot of scars.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Winning the Battle With the Animal Inside."
The battle between the wild side and the tame side is a battle that we humans know all too well, because it seems they both live inside us and they're both strong. One Biblical writer, Paul, the apostle, wrote about this struggle in these words: "What I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do" (Romans 7:15).
If you're tired of that animal inside you winning, if you're tired of the scars it's left on you and the people you care about, then you're ready for our word for today from the Word of God in Galatians 5, beginning with verse 16. You'll hear the struggle, but you'll hear the solution, too. "Live by the Spirit (that's God's Holy Spirit, who lives in everyone who belongs to Jesus), and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." Does that kind of struggle sound familiar at all?
Here are the two menus of the kind of person you're going to be, depending on which side wins. "The acts of the sinful nature (that's that animal inside) are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. Those who live like that will not inherit the kingdom of God." That's deadly stuff that comes from our wild side.
But it goes on to say, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."
Here's the hard truth about the animal inside. You can't tame him; it's just too strong. You can strive all you want, you can make all the commitments to change that you want, the monster will still win very often. But when you get Jesus, the Holy Spirit moves into your life with all the power there is.
The winning secret is in Ephesians 5:18, "Be filled with the Spirit." That means controlled by, taken over by the Holy Spirit, which means you stop trying to change by your own efforts. You trade striving for surrendering all of you completely to the Holy Spirit of God.
If you lay my glove on this chair I'm sitting on and ask it to move the chair, the glove will just lay there. But if I put my hand in that glove, that glove will pick up the chair and do what a glove can't do by the power of the hand inside it. See, you're just God's glove, powerless to subdue your sinful side. But if you surrender all control of that glove and let God put His hand in there, His power will move what you've never been able to move and change, and He will change it.
The Bible tells us that Jesus died on the cross to rescue us from the power and the penalty of the wild side of our sin. If you've never reached out to Him in faith and said, "Jesus, you're my only hope and I am Yours," would you do that today. Go to our website. There's so much more about this there. ANewStory.com.
Go to Him to be forgiven and you'll be clean, and you'll have inside you the power to finally be free from that animal inside.