Teddy bear or Grizzly bear
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who the Holy Spirit controls think about things that please the Spirit. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. – Romans 8:5,7
12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.
16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.
19 Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this.
What is the origin of the Teddy Bear? It all began when Theodore Roosevelt went on a bear hunt in Mississippi on November 14, 1902. After hours of searching, Roosevelt and his group had not come across any wild animals. Roosevelt came up empty-handed. He did not find a bear. One of his assistants, Holt Collier, caught a 235-pound black bear and tied it to a willow tree for the president to shoot. Roosevelt was shocked, thinking it was very unsportsmanlike. The President refused, and news reporters throughout the country spread the story of Roosevelt’s act of kindness.
A political cartoonist, Clifford Berryman, read the story and made a cartoon depicting President Roosevelt’s refusal to shoot the bear. The cartoon was circulated throughout the country. Morris Michtom, a Brooklyn candy shop owner, saw the cartoon. A light bulb went on. Michtom and his wife not only and toy sold candy, but they also made and sold stuffed animals. He decided to create three stuffed toy bears. They put a pair in the window of their shop in hopes of selling them. He sent the third to President Teddy Roosevelt. Michtom asked Roosevelt to allow him to use the name “Teddy’s Bear” for his bear toys. The president agreed. The iconic Teddy Bear became part of American culture.
Each person is born with a tad bit of Teddy Bear and a tad bit of Grizzly Bear. Of course, some folks have more of one Bear type than the other. We can either live our lives as Teddy Bears or Grizzly Bears. The choice is ours.
Paul clarifies that when we become children of the King, the Father causes us to be born again. We have a whole new spiritual dimension that the Father awakens within us (Ephesians 2:5). We now have two natures vying for control. It is as though we become mildly schizophrenic. Various labels have been used to describe this bifurcation: sin/flesh, old self/new self, old life/new life, etc. It is as though each individual has the Incredible Hulk lurking within our placid exterior appearance who can burst out at any time and take control.
REFLECT & PRAY
Romans 7:25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Father I long to be a Teddy Bear rather than a Grizzly Bear. Continue the work of taming me that I might be meek and have my “power under control.”
In the kingdom of God, children of the King can live as Teddy Bears rather than Grizzly Bears. As a result of the Fall, the human race was contaminated by sin. We are born with a sinful nature, the Grizzly Bear. It seeks to control us and often does. When we were born again, the Father imparted a spiritual nature, the Teddy Bear. The two bears are at war within us for control.
14 The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.
15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
Paul encourages the children of the King to live in the spirit and not give in to the flesh.
Romans 6:12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.
How can we do that? The Father has given us abundant examples in nature. In the natural world, bears have a common characteristic of strength and power. Mama bears are extremely protective and caring. When they are protecting their young, they are ferocious. When female bears take care of their young, they are gentle. They control the incredible power and strength that they possess. The Scriptures have a word that describes this perfectly: meek.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
What is meekness? “Meekness is not weakness; meekness is power under control. This word was used to describe a soothing wind, a healing medicine, and a colt that had been broken. In each instance, there is power . . . But this power is under control” (Wiersbe).
The Greek word translated as meek is praus. Praus can be summarized in one phrase, power under control. When referring to animals, an appropriate translation would be tame. The word praus connotes a subtle and unique blend of strength and poise. Meekness is a quality of gentle friendliness and consideration that accommodates another’s weakness (Friberg).
When wild animals are tamed, they are brought under control. They do not lose their power, but their independent and destructive instincts are restrained. They learn to accept the direction of others. Their natural tendency to “fight or flight” is mediated. Tame animals lose their fear of people.
If a mama Grizzly Bear can be meek and control its power, so can children of the King.
It is a struggle between our two natures. But we can choose to practice which bear we allow to be in control.
Galatians 5:17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
All children of the King grapple with this inner battle. Struggle can be intense and continuous, but any child of the King can bear up under it. We are not to judge and condemn one another as we struggle. Each child of the King stands or falls before the Father Himself.
Romans 14:4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.
© Dr. H 2022