Willpower: The Fair-weather Friend

 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit  [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will  certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature  without God). —Galatians  5:16

Willpower sure sounds like a great thing. We are led to believe that we  have enough of it to fight off every temptation that comes our way. And  sometimes it works. But let me tell you a little secret about willpower.  Willpower is your best friend when things go well, but it’s the first friend to  check out when you get weary. I have found that if I really don’t want to do  something, my mind gives me plenty of reasons why I don’t have to. My emotions  even join in, saying, “I agree because I don’t feel like doing it  anyway.”

Our soul (mind, will, emotions) would love to run our lives, but the  Bible says we are to be led by God’s Spirit. We are never instructed to be  willpower-led, we are told to be Spirit-led. Willpower and discipline are  important and vitally necessary to a successful life, but willpower alone won’t  be enough. Determination gets you started and keeps you going for awhile, but  it is never enough to bring you across the finish line. Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV)  says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the  Lord of hosts.

What happens if, instead of turning first to willpower in your time of  need, you turn to God instead? God releases His power into your willpower and  energizes it to bring you across the finish line. Willpower does not get the  credit for our success, God does. Jesus said in John 15:5, apart from Me  [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. This is one of the  most important and most difficult lessons we must learn if we want to enjoy the  life Jesus died to give us.

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