Our Scripture this morning is very personal to me but too long to print here. I will leave it up to you to take a few minutes and find a quiet place and read Paul’s words found in Romans 7:14-25. It is a Scripture I use often for it describes the dilemma’s I frequently find myself in.
Hey Gang, On my first tenure at dear old Findlay College there was a tradition where the sophomore class challenged the freshman class to an old fashioned tug-of-war. They always choose a very wet day when the ground tended to be a wee-bit muddy. There were few rules and minimal strategies. The outcome was based on pure brute strength.
Each side had but one goal in mind, bragging rights for the year. Plain and simple we wanted to pull the other team into the mud pit. As much as I hate to admit it, I experienced the ‘grossness’ of the mud pit in my freshman and sophomore years. Th non-participating members of the two classes, who were not into the grunt game, were the cheer leaders.
It was kind of like the time when Moses stood on top of the mountain and the children of Israel were battling the forces of Amalek. As long as he held his arms up, the Israelites prevailed but, when they were down, the forces of Amalek prevailed. “But his hands were heavy and Aaron and Hur had to support his arms. (Exodus 17:8-16). The cheer leaders were not about to jump into the mud and gab the rope.
It was a very simple exercise and many believe that is what is going on inside our souls! There is a tug-of -war between good and evil constantly raging inside of us; Satan pulls us one way, then Jesus, the other way. Each straining at the opposite end of the rope hoping to pull us in their direction.
We seemingly are like the rope, powerless, just caught in the middle of two powerful forces. Some days, goodness (the white dog) gets the upper hand and some days evil (the black dog) has obviously eaten its Wheaties and we lose the battle.
As President of a program that provided young folks, who had made some bad decisions in their lives, with encouragement and a shirt tail to hang onto, it was my privilege to speak in the Chapel Services periodically and one of my favorite themes was: ‘Who is winning the battle for your soul, the white dog or the black dog? Which one are you feeding?”
Paul makes no bones about it, the world we live in has a very strong tendency to throw most of the bones the black dog’s way. Does that mean he is ready to throw in the towel? Not in your sweet bippy! His battle cry is, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). Somewhere along the line, God whispers in our ear, ”My son, My grace will rescue you.”
So, lads and lassies, be advised God’s grace is sufficient to whip the black dogs out of your life, but- you must be aware of your feeding habits – are you feeding the black dog or are you feeding the white dog? Are you starving the one and giving nourishing food to the other by your words and actions? Be advised the white dog will surely fail, if you only fed him one half hour once a week.