Do you ever feel like there’s a battle going on inside of you? It’s light versus dark. Good versus evil. Forgiveness versus grudges. Hope versus pain.
If you’ve ever watched the movie, Tomorrowland, then you’ve seen an explanation of a battle that is taking place in all of us.
In that movie, two of the main characters reference a ‘battle of two wolves.” It’s an element of the story that helps to shape the action and move the movie toward its conclusion.
However, the story of two wolves isn’t something that was written just for Tomorrowland.
It’s actually taken from a story that’s attributed to many different ethnic groups. Maybe that gives it the opportunity to be a part of our story. It goes something like this?
A grandfather wanted to share a story about life with his grandson. So he sat down with him one day and told the young boy, “A fight is going on inside me. It’s a terrible fight between two wolves.”
He told his grandson that one wolf was dark and evil. That wolf brings anger, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, false humility, self-doubt and anxiety.
The grandfather said the other wolf was light and good. That wolf brings love, joy, peace, faith, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth and compassion.
He told his grandson, “That same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person.”
His grandson let that sink in for a moment and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
He grandfather replied with this simple answer, “The one you feed.”
Is that the way life feels for you sometimes? Do you find yourself ever caught up in that battle?
A battle of two natures appears in the New Testament as well in the writings of Paul.
If you don’t know anything about Paul, let me quickly introduce you to him. We first meet Paul in the Book of Acts when he is known as Saul. Saul is ambitious and sees an opportunity to move up in the ranks of the Pharisees. He holds the coats at the stoning of one of the first Christian martyrs and then Saul seeks permission to go to another town (Damascus) so that he can arrest the Christians there.
On the way to Damascus, Saul gets the ultimate reset. He meets Jesus on the road, he is blinded for three days and he moves from being a church persecutor to a church starter. In the process, he changes his name from Saul to Paul.
So, Paul definitely understands the battle of two wills. He writes about it in the Book of Romans. Here’s how he describes it in Chapter 7:
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
There’s the battle of the two natures: He wants to do good, but there is evil within him. That is the case for all of us — a desire to do good and a nature that leads us to do things that bring harm to ourselves, to others and to our relationship with God.
22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
This isn’t a passive battle. In these verses it points us to see it as a war — a war of the mind, heart and soul. The goal of the “sinful” nature is to make us a slave to the rules that we can’t fulfill. It tricks us into seeing that our lives don’t matter, that we can’t make changes, that we can’t be forgiven and that we are not people of worth.
It leads Paul to call himself a “wretched man.” Maybe in terms of our current political climate, Paul sees himself as deplorable in the sight of God.
He asks the question: Who is going to rescue me from this “wolf?” By the way, Paul is asking a rhetorical question — he already knows the answer.
25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Which wolf is winning in the story of your life?
Is it the wolf of darkness, despair, evil, pain and suffering? Or is it the wolf of life, forgiveness, grace, mercy and hope?
Thankfully, we all have a savior, Jesus Christ, who can and will deliver us from darkness of our own creation.
ReigniteMyStory.com is based on the idea that every life story can be reignited when we reset it, renew it and redeem it. You can contact me with ideas, questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by following me on Twitter at @reignitemystory.