Trials being hard is given, but it is a Christian’s lot to overcome. And the way to do so is by learning to rule our spirit through self-control and willpower. As a review for the Spring Holy Days, I am sharing five keys to develop willpower, summarized from the inspiring and insightful article of Mr. Rod McNair:
1. Flee temptation.
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
To strengthen our willpower, we must first make concerted efforts to keep the temptation as far away as possible. Contrary to what others might say, fleeing from temptation is NOT a sign of weakness, or lack of willpower. In fact, it even keeps our willpower strong. Allowing ourselves to remain in close proximity to any sort of immorality is what will erode and weaken our resolve, little by little, until eventually we give in to temptation.
2. Exercise willpower.
“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12: 1).
Godly self-control is like a muscle that needs to be developed. When we decide to obey God and do what’s right even if we don’t humanly feel so, we exercise spiritual power over our will. When we do this again and again, repeating the pattern, it becomes more natural for us, and even second nature. Studies have also shown that exercising self-control in one area seemed to improve all areas of life. As we focus on putting into practice even the simplest goals, the resulting gain in self-control can start to carry over into the more difficult struggles in our life.
3. Stay well-fed.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).
Studies have shown that glucose depletion can turn the most charming companion into a monster. Nutritionally balanced meals, eaten in moderation, help us make good decisions, function well and exercise our willpower effectively. Physical fuel, however, is only the beginning. It is necessary, but not sufficient. We must not place too much focus on life’s physical aspects while neglecting the spiritual. The spiritual food that lasts forever is the bread of God which is Jesus Christ (John 6:33,35). We must therefore feed on Christ by letting and asking Him to live His life in us and by taking in His words and by developing a close relationship and having regular contact with God through prayer, bible study, fasting, and meditation.
4. Get rest.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
Studies show that not getting enough sleep has bad effects on mind, including the weakening of self-control and related processes like decision-making. We must, therefore, get adequate rest and sound sleep. More importantly, we must rejuvenate and renew our spirits by resting on and coming to God. What will truly revive us is our surrender to His will, empowered by His Spirit to experience the fruit of obedience to His laws in our lives.
5. Surrender to God.
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:3-7)
Paradoxically, we have willpower most fully when we come under the power of God. Living under and by His power is freeing, calming, and settling as we experience the power of His spirit in our lives. In the final analysis, growing in willpower means totally and unequivocally trusting in God and in His power to lead us.
With these fundamental tips, let us continue on striving to endure until the end! 🙂
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