There once was a man who had two dogs. At the end of every week he would bring his dogs to the center of his small town and they would fight in the town square. The whole village would come out to watch and bet on the winner. Week after week this went on and the owner would always know who the winner would be before the fight would begin. One day, a young boy came up to the man and asked a simple question,
"Mister, how do you always know who is going to win?"
With a glimmer in his eye, and half cracked small smile on his face the man knelt down and whispered in the little boy's ear,
"It's simple. I feed the dog that I want to win, and I starve the other. At the end of the week, the contest takes care of itself."
I think that our faith and how we live it out is not far from this. Paul said it this way:
"For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but 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." - Rom 7:22-23
I don't think that anyone would deny the insatiable struggle between God and the enemy, sin and righteousness that all of us feel every day. Heaven and Hell are both looking to bring into their gates new citizens and new solders for their cause. The fact that we are followers of Christ at all brings us into an immediate and consistent fight for holiness every day.
I think the real truth in the story of the man with two dogs is not the fact that there are two dogs, that they fight, or that one of them will always win. The real nugget of truthful goodness that sits just beneath the surface waiting to be harvested is the fact that it's the daily routine that will ultimately determine the outcome of the trial or test that is to come. Not because God isn't strong enough, or sovereign enough, or merciful enough. But because when the wind and rain begin to howl, we loose sight of how close the Creator really is.
A lot of people want to pray when something goes wrong. Most people will stop to acknowledge God something good comes their way. But there are only a select few that will keep themselves tethered to the true anchor that will hold fast when the torrential storm of life reaches it's pinnacle. It's the day to the day activities that we do that strengthen our faith, hope, and trust in The Lord that enable us to win the fight for faith.
Don't forget to feed the dog...
- Just a thought