The Raven and the Dove
There were two birds in the Ark, a Raven and a Dove, with two absolutely distinct natures. The raven fed on carrion; the dove fed on cereals. The believer in Jesus, born of God, has got two natures as opposite as those two birds. One is the old nature that feeds on the scrap, the other, the new, which feeds on the “finest of the wheat.” Starve the raven and feed the dove! That is the way to make spiritual progress.
You may say, “I want to make progress but something has got me in bondage.” The fact is of course you have these two natures, antagonistic to each other, dragging in opposite directions, and you so act that the raven is flourishing whilst the dove languishes.
A young lady said to me one day, “How is it that I get into such flaring tempers all of a sudden? I go down and confess my sins and I feel I have got forgiveness, but I do it the next day, and do it again, and it is a case of sinning and confessing it all the time, till I am more miserable than I was before I was converted.” That kind of thing is the experience of a good many Christians. I said, “Do you read novels?” “Well, good ones,” she said. “What has that got to do with it?” My reply was to this effect:—John Bunyan tells us in his “Pilgrim’s Progress” that in the Interpreter’s House, he saw a fire burning against a wall, and one standing by it always throwing water upon it, yet the fire burned hotter. He takes you round to the other side of the wall. There is a man feeding the fire with oil. Now in public you are trying to extinguish the flesh but in secret you minister to the flesh. Sin is in the flesh, and then you are awfully ashamed if it breaks out in public. That’s it! But can you expect anything else?
You cannot, if you still continue feeding the raven and starving the dove. Let us rather remember that the death of Christ has put the sentence of death on the old nature, and that He has made us sharers in His risen life, and given to us His Spirit that we may live out this new life. Let us keep the death sentence where God has put it, reckoning ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. STARVE THE RAVEN AND FEED THE DOVE!