There is a profound Cherokee story involving a conversation between a young boy and his wise old grandfather. One evening, as the two of them sat together by the fire, the old man began to teach his young progeny – as wise old grandfathers are wont to do – about the most important lessons of life. The young boy had had a bad day; he had been very disobedient – as young boys are wont to do – and, now, in the warm shadows of the firelight, old man and young boy sat in silence. The boy’s face was rigid with resentment over his parents’ punishment for his disobedience, while the old man, leaning heavily on his knees, idly drew figures in the dusty earth.
After a long while, the grandfather began to speak. “There is a terrible battle going on inside my soul,” he said quietly. Another long pause. When the boy could stand the suspense no longer, he asked “What does that mean, Grandfather? What kind of battle do you face?”
“There are two wolves living inside me and they are in a raging battle.”
“Right now?” the boy asked.
“Yes, right now. In fact the wolves never seem to stop their warfare.” The old man sat back – looking far into the distance.
“What are they fighting over, Grandfather?” the boy asked.
“My life… ” the old man replied.
“I don’t understand,” said the boy, turning toward the old man. “Who are the two wolves?”
The wise old man continued. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” These two wolves are fighting all the time, and my soul is their battleground.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 and in Romans 7:14-25 Paul talks about the old and the new person or nature in a similar way. We battle against the natural human nature to try and do what we know is good and righteous.
Fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:13-26 – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.