The dawn of the new year is often times seen as a opportunity to start fresh, to begin anew, and for some reason this year it has reminded me of an old story that I heard years ago growing up on the northern plains of America. A story of two wolves, told by an old weather-beaten Cherokee to his grandson…
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
"One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, selfishness and ego.
"The other is Good - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
Yesterday was the beginning of the New Year and like many of you I spent it visiting with friends. The greeting that everyone extended to everyone else that day was as is always the greeting on New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve “Happy New Year”. Which got me thinking, is that how God would greet us?
Think about that for a moment, before you answer the question.
Is God primarily concerned with my own personal happiness?
I know that many, if not most of those in the churches spread across America today would answer yes ‘God - wants me to be happy’. The problem with that answer is… what happens when you do something that while it may make you happy – hurts or injures another person either physically, mentally, financially, emotionally, or spiritually?
Your belief that God just wants you to be happy, elevates you and your desires above everyone else, including God. It is the root of evil in its purest form. From this one seed, anger, jealousy, greed, lust, resentment, pride, lies, and ego all sprout and grow to consume the individual; happy but not joyful.
God is concerned with your holiness, a holiness that grows and develops and as it does so, you discover that as a side benefit to pursuing His holiness you find joyfulness. Which is not be confused with happiness, anymore then worldly regret is the same as Godly sorrow. In the end, just as the Old Cherokee warned his grandson, you will feed either your pursuit of your personal happiness or holiness.
I wish you a Holy New Year.