Fighting the Flesh
During the month of January my church has done a series on “Pursuit, The Search for More.” We’re reading through Proverbs. 31 chapters in Proverbs, 31 days in January. So much of Solomon’s teaching in Proverbs is practical everyday common sense. Common sense I forget or many times choose to ignore.
Yesterday, my group Selah performed at FBCH. It’s in Hendersonville about 30 minutes outside of Nashville. They were having their sanctity of life services that morning. They were recognizing all the families that had the blessing of adopting children. As we sang “Bless The Broken Road” the families came down the aisle and stood up on the platform with us. It was very moving. Later that evening we had about 1000 people join us for a concert. It was a wonderful day. It was also great to see our college friend and FBCH Music Pastor Troy Freeman again. 14 years, too long.
Here are some stories he shared to cement the idea. I’m paraphrasing.
1. A man was out in the park and he was letting his two dogs fight with each other. They were really going at it. Finally, someone came up to him and said, “why are you letting them do that, they are really hurting each other?” The owner replied, “they do this all the time, they will be fine.” The stranger asked, “who usually wins?” Owner, “Sometimes one wins and sometimes the other wins.” Then the owner paused and said, “Actually, the one I feed the most that day is the one who wins.”
What am I feeding myself today? What am I putting in my mind today? What am I choosing to believe today?
2. This next story is sad but true. Back in the 1940’s there was a woman who owned poisonous snakes. A well-known photographer (so well-known I don’t know his name) took an interest in her work. One because the snakes were extremely dangerous and because the owner was a woman, which was very unusual back then. She had just received a Cobra. It was her prized snake. She took it out of the box and the photographer started taking pictures of her holding the snake. The snake was not used the flash bulbs and it’s senses became highly aware. As the owner was putting the Cobra back in the box the snake reached over and bit into her hand. It took 30 seconds to get the snake off.
The snake owner told the photographer to go into a special room where she kept the antivenom. He went and grabbed it, but was so nervous he dropped the antivenom and it shattered all over the floor. It was the only one she had. He drove her to the hospital, but within a couple hours she was dead.
It’s a tragic story. The point Pastor Bruce made was, “We can play with the flesh. We can think we’ve got control as we take it out of its cage. We let it out for a little while. We put it back. The truth is eventually it’s going to bite, and the ramifications could be devastating.”
3. This is the last one, and the one that has stuck with me the most. “Choosing not to fight the flesh, is like letting a wild animal become the zoo keeper, and locking yourself in the cage.”
What do I choose to rule my life and my thoughts? Who do I choose to rule my life and my thoughts?
I hope these stories help you today. They’re simple reminders for me when I’m alone, as I spend time with my wife and kids, and when I’m around others of what to choose today.
15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.