Question: What dog do you feed?  Inside all of us are two dogs.  The one you feed will get stronger and the one you starve will get weaker.  So which dog do you feed?

Last week we ended with a scripture and three challenges.  Romans 8:5-8  …if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace… ?  How do we get that?

  1. Realize, that the only answer to your struggle in life is Jesus.

  2. Realize, that every attempt we make to find feelings of significance, safety and acceptance apart from God is death.  I mean that: death.

  3. Realize, that to have the Holy Spirit control your mind, it requires you to make a choice to die to every sinful and selfish thing within you and spend time with God.

Giving control to the Holy Spirit can be a struggle that we all experience.  We want to do right but we struggle to follow through.  It’s like we have two dogs inside us.  One dog is our selfish nature, the other is the Holy Spirit.  We will, over time, feed the one and starve the other.  The dog we feed gets stronger and stronger, the dog we starve gets weaker and weaker.

Today, I want to talk about what happens when we feed our selfish nature and starve the Holy Spirit.

9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.) 10 Since Christ lives within you, even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.  

12 So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves.   NLT Romans 8:9-14

Vs 13 concludes, …if you keep on following it [sinful natural urges], you will perish.  When you continue to feed the dog inside you that is your selfish nature, you will die.  That means a couple things.  First, it doesn’t mean you will physically die today, in fact you will be able to live and walk through life.  You can go to school, get a job, get married, make a living and live out life.  This is why you can walk through life and blow God off for years and years and not experience immediate punishment.

Secondly, it means you will die today.  Spiritually speaking, you will die.  The only place you find life is in the Holy Spirit.  When you starve the Holy Spirit, you starve life from being inside you.  Here are the implications into your life and remember, it doesn’t matter if you go to church or not.

The closest analogy I could give would be a walking zombie.  You might be able to live in this world, but you are dead inside.  You’re a zombie.  No life, no joy, just walking through life.

Let me read for you the offer Jesus made to a woman.   7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”  8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.   9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”  11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this is a very deep well. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his cattle enjoyed?”

13 Jesus replied, “People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water.  14 But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.”  NLT  John 4:7-14

What was Jesus saying?  Your life has been miserable because you are feeding the wrong dog inside you.  What I offer you is life.  Spiritual life that will redeem your soul.  What does it look like to feed the selfish dog and starve the Holy Spirit dog?  What does it look like to drink water but not drink the water Jesus offers to redeem your soul?  What’s it like to walk through life like a zombie?  What does it look like when we feed the wrong dog in our life?  Your soul will die because you have no life.  That means you won’t be able to find meaning and satisfaction.

Your marriage will die because you have no life.  You will expect a lot from your spouse but you will do very little for them, to meet their needs.   You will have high expectations from your spouse and low expectations for yourself.

Your family will die because you have no life.  There won’t be joy.  Your kids are growing up in your home, do you know what they are learning?  They are watching you to see if Christianity works.  If you can’t love your spouse and bring life to them, what did your kids learn?  Christianity doesn’t work.  A missions trip, children’s ministry, youth ministry, discipleship may help but they can’t overcome what you are modeling for them.  When you have ‘no life’ in you, your family dies.

Your job will always be a huge drama, it will die because you have no life.  You will blame most of your problems on your job.

Your relationship will die because you have no life.  Have you ever wondered why relationships a struggle for you?  Because you aren’t giving life to people.  You will struggle to be able to absorb hurt and give back love.

Let me read for you how scripture describes our lives when we feed the wrong dog.  19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin.  NLT Galatians 5:19-21

Do you see what scripture is saying?   When you feed the dog inside you that is your selfish nature, you will physically be alive but spiritually, you will die and you will walk through life in pain.  A zombie.  AND, it doesn’t matter if you go to church or not!  When you starve the Holy Spirit, you starve your source of life.

Here is the good news.  9 You are not controlled by your sinful nature.  You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.  NLT Romans 8:9

Everything you need to live in freedom, is deep within you.  You can live with the Holy Spirit inside you.  But, you must starve the dog inside you that is called your selfish nature.  You must feed the dog inside you that is the Holy Spirit.   It’s something you do.

There is the idea that is in many Christians today.  It says believes, ‘God does it all.’  Actually God does it all when it comes to forgiving us of our sin but to live out the Christian life, that is our choice.  According to scripture, the Holy Spirit has been placed into our core to make the right decisions.  The problem becomes when we say we love God but refuse to do the right thing and blame it on the Devil.  Example: I love God but I hate my spouse and I am waiting for God to change me.  No!  If you love God, you make the right choice to act lovingly to your spouse and the Holy Spirit will empower you to live it out.

Question: What dog do you feed?  What dog is growing inside you?  Which dog is getting louder, bigger and stronger?  Which one is getting weaker, smaller and quiet?