In his book of philosophical and satirical stories titled Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes, “There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. But then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate instructor said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully.” Isn’t that like most of us? We figure it’s easier to pay the bully than learn how to fight. Tony Campolo said, “Each of us comes into the world with a predisposition to live in such a way as to inflict pain on those who love us most, and to offend the God who cares for us infinitely.” The Apostle Paul said it like this: “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19).
There is a war raging in all of us. To deny that is to surrender to the enemy. It is not a bad thing to admit your daily battles, but a good thing. Can you imagine an army winning a war that it claims does not exist? How do you win the war within? I love the story of the man who had two dogs, one black and the other white. Other than their colors, nothing separated them. They were the same breed, size, build, and age. And they liked to fight. Each dog won half the battles. They were complete equals. The dogs’ owners starting taking bets with the townsmen on which dog would win the next fight. Every time, the dogs’ owner picked the right dog. Someone finally asked him, “Since both dogs win half the time, how do you always know which one will win the next fight?” The man confessed his secret. “The dog that wins the next fight will be the one I fed that morning.” That is the key to winning the war within. I don’t know your battles and you don’t know mine. But I do know this. The victory doesn’t come by will power or sheer determination. The winner with be the one you feed the most. If you feed your addictions and temptations, they will win. But if you feast on the Word of God, prayer, and encouraging fellowship, you will discover the power you need to win. You are in a battle. There is a war within. You have two choices. You can either pay the bully or learn how to fight.