Galatians 5-6, Psalm 7
In a book written by Billy Graham in 1978, he tells the story of an Eskimo fisherman. He would come to town every Saturday afternoon with his two dogs, one white and one black. He had taught them to fight on command. Every Saturday afternoon in the town square the people would gather and these two dogs would fight and the fisherman would take bets. On one Saturday the black dog would win; another Saturday, the white dog would win-but the fisherman always won! His friends began to ask him how he did it. He said, "I starve one and feed the other. The one I feed always wins because he is stronger." Billy Graham goes on to explain that this story represents something about the inner warfare that comes into the life of the Christian. We have two natures (the flesh and the Spirit) within us, both struggling for mastery. The one that dominates us is the one that we choose to feed.
Paul said in Galatians 5:16-17, "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." This conflict never ends and we need to depend on God's strength daily to sustain us, we can't store it up on Sunday and think that it will last the rest of the week. He goes on in 6:8-9 to explain this further, "For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Life is long, we all sin, and we can all fall. This should keep us very humble in our walk with God. Paul goes on in 6:14 to acknowledge this difficult walk and his dependence on Christ, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
So when we hear of a pastor or someone in the church falling greatly, we shouldn't be in shock or wave our accusatory finger in that direction. We all walk this tightrope daily and only survive each day by feeding the Spirit and by God's grace. Some of our sins come to the forefront, others only God sees. When we die what legacy will we leave behind. Will we indeed finish strong. When we die if someone were to look over our journals, our computers, our i-phones, our personal private material would we maintain that legacy or would things that were concealed now be revealed. In one of my favorite parables, in Luke 18:10-14, Jesus describes the different attitudes of the Pharisee and the tax collector, as they pray in the temple. One gives a laundry list of how good he is, but the tax collector, "standing afar off, would not so much raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!" I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." May we all lean on Him daily as our source of strength, depending on Him to see us through every day and every situation. May we ask for His guidance to reveal to us the things we must pay attention to and beware of. May we approach Him daily as David did in Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: