Who am I talking about, you ask? I am referring to myself.
I commit to reading in my chronological bible every day, but before I know it, several days have passed, and now I am behind in my reading.
I make a commitment to exercise more patience with my children when they are having one of their dramatic episodes over something silly, but instead I am impatient.
I commit to talking gently with my children when they are engaging in heated sibling rivalry, but instead I respond in frustration and anger.
I commit to not eat that delicious, moist, oozing homemade chocolate cake that is sitting on my counter because I just made it as a special snack for the kids, not me, but instead I find myself drawn to it.
I commit to have more compassion for the people who need me do to things for them, but instead I catch myself feeling resentful or frustrated.
I commit to being more patient with my husband when he is pushing all of my wrong buttons, but instead I find myself responding with a lack of love.
I commit to forgiving for my friend for hurting my feelings, but as soon as the subject comes up, I feel those hurt feelings surfacing again.
Why? Why cant we be stronger? Why cant we resist the temptations put before us? Why cant we hold firm to the things that we know are Gods ways, instead of letting our human flesh and emotions control our thoughts and actions?
Regardless of the situation, I think it all boils down to willpower, and believing that if we exercise willpower, the positive consequences will outweigh the negative.
If dont eat chocolate cake, I dont gain weight.
If I am patient with my children, I teach them patience.
If I respond in love, I will diffuse anger and avoid conflict.
If I love my husband through thick and thin, my marriage flourishes.
If I practice compassion, I am able to be selfless, and share Gods love.
The art of willpower is being able to see past the current situation and temporary advantages of giving into the flesh, and looking into the future in consideration of the permanent benefits.
But how do we try to stay focused on that good future?
Good news, God has not left us alone to battle the temptations of the flesh. He has not left us alone to battle the forces of evil in our limited strength. I know we can overcome small and huge temptations through the power that God is ready to impart in us, if we ask for it.
I think inside each one of us, there is a desire to be pure, good, and live a righteous life. It is when we do not seek Gods will, that the problems begin.
Some people dispute Christianity or make fun of people who try to live a life based on morals and integrity, but deep inside of them, there is a desire to do the right thing.
Other people desire to do good, but continue to allow their selfish desires drive their actions, and ultimately they will fail also.
God placed that desire for righteous living in all of us, but He also gave us the choice of whether or not we will fill that hole with His will, or our own.
Having willpower simply means yielding to Gods will. Choosing to live in His ways.
But what about the power of choice? Is it a gift or a curse? I have to wonder, but either way, it is ours to exercise.
We cannot always control our thoughts or push aside our human emotions. We cannot always overcome the desires of the flesh to be selfish, un-compassionate, unloving, impatient, or to eat yummy chocolate cake that we know is not good for the thighs.
Some people have a terrible time controlling their desire to lie, steal, be angry, abuse alcohol, do drugs, watch pornography, have repeated affairs, or a myriad of other struggles that are in this broken world. For some, overcoming these temptations to continue in a pattern of sin seems insurmountable, impossible, and hopeless.
But no matter what the temptation, we always have the power to choose. We can choose to love God, and serve Him, and try to live a life that glorifies Him.
We can choose to desperately pray for the willpower to overcome our temptations. We can choose to believe that He will do a work in our hearts and help us be that overcomer.
In choosing Christ over our own desires, our whole being can be brought under the control of Christ. He will have control over our thoughts. He will have control over our actions. He will have control over our behaviors. He will have control
over our desires.
By yielding ourselves to the power of Christ, and praying for His will, not our own, we open the door for divine power to be poured into our souls. We receive a strength to fight off temptations that we didnt know was possible. We notice that what once seemed so tempting, no longer seems so great. We notice that our desires change from the bad, to the good.
We notice, and begin believing, that we can have a life of victory. Victory over appetite, lust, selfishness, substance abuse, and all struggles.
We find out we can live a life that is pure and noble, instead of daily succumbing to the weak, wavering will of ourselves.
Do you need some willpower today? I know I do. But today I am not going to depend on my own pitiful attempts to exercise willpower. I am going to depend on God. I have felt His willpower in me in the past, and have seen His power working through me, fighting off of my temptations. He is all powerful.
Lord, today I pray for willpower. Please give me the willpower I need to overcome the struggles between my fleshly desires, and your heavenly desires; the struggles between the way I would like to think or act, and the way you would have me think or act. Help me to keep my eyes focused on the positive benefits that are derived from living each day in a way that lets other people see You living in me, instead of swimming in the negative feelings that I feel after acting out in a way that does not glorify You. Instill in me a desire to do your will, every day. Take over control of my heart and mind today, so that my emotions are controlled by Godly thoughts, and that my actions will be ones that I can be happy with, and ones that bring a smile to your face as well.
Romans 7:18 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. (The Message Bible)