There is a story of a Native American elder who once described his own inner struggles to understand the Bible and Christianity.
“Inside of me there are two dogs. One is black, and the other is white. The black dog is mean and tries to talk me into making the wrong choices. The white dog is good and encourages me to make the right choices. The black dog fights the white dog all day.” When asked by the friend which dog wins, the elder reflected for a moment and replied;
“The one I feed the most.”
White Dog: As a believing Christian, there is a part of us that is Christ-spirited, compassionate, trusting, open, abundant and focused on helping others. We pray and are being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Black Dog: The other part is our flesh. We can be proud, evil, self-centered, greedy, manipulative, sullen, promiscuous, drunken, and only wants to he served by others.
“An analogy is made between the good white dog, our new nature in Christ, and the bad black dog, our old fallen nature. While we cannot eliminate the old nature, we can choose to feed the white dog.”(From “The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power in our Life,” by Billy Graham 1978.)
Two Scriptures to help: One– “If you use your lives to do the wrong things your sinful selves want, you will die spiritually. But if you use the Spirit’s help to stop doing the wrong things you do with your body, you will have true life.” Rom. 8:13, NCV
Two– “Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please.” Gal. 5:17
In thinking this through this analogy might help. I’m inclined to think that holiness is not so much like an “on and off” switch. But I think it’s more like a “dimmer” switch is turned to brighten or darken a room. I actually think there are times when we should make a deliberate decision for God. And yet other times we just need to turn up the dimmer from 30% to 80%. Maybe all the way?
I’m just thinking out loud here.