Have you ever felt like surely there is something wrong with you because you struggle hard core to simply do what you know you should do? Like when God was passing out willpower, you must have overslept?
We like to complicate things and make them seem harder so our excuses are covered, but the truth is, we know the good we should be doing and we plain and simple don’t do it some days.
Sister, you’re not alone. Every single one of us have questioned what the heck is wrong with us. Every one of us have been incredibly frustrated with our lack of follow through and our continual falling off the wagon. And God totally gets it … he not only gets it, he has a plan to help.
The apostle Paul, the one chosen by God to write a big chunk of the New Testament even had his moment of “what the heck is wrong with me?” Check out Paul’s words in Romans 7: 18-20, “Now what I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. If I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, isn’t it obvious that God’s command is necessary?”
Does that sound like an entry from your journal? Your own battle with willpower and following through on your commitments… Your battle with staying on track and not being distracted and derailed… Your internal fight with wanting one thing, but your thoughts are filled with another… This is not only your battle, this is the battle of every living being. We make a decision, then we act against that decision and sabotage ourselves, doing the very things we said we wouldn’t do. This makes it obvious, as Paul said, that God’s command is necessary.
God’s command … is that like a rule thou shall not eat more than 30 carbs per day? A law stating thou shall wake up before 6 am? You shall get married at the age of 23 and remain faithful until death do you part, and dang it, be happy about it. Is God’s command like a clear guideline telling you every step of good living?
Actually, what Paul is referring to here in God’s command is God’s strong position over your life. It’s his power outsourced to you through his Holy Spirit. Do you have God’s command and power over your life? This is the key for every single one of us who struggle with staying strong and steady on the right path of life, making the right decisions and following through with our commitments … God’s command over us. His power, his providence, his purposes… are these the primary things you are seeking here? Or is the enemy fooling you by seeking those other seemingly good things like happiness first, joy and thrills, satisfaction now, good feelings and good vibes, big goals and dreams … but leaving God’s command behind?
God’s command is not something you have to hide from and try to avoid. It is his ultimate gift to you. HIS POWER OUTSOURCED IN YOUR LIFE. His strength infused in your spirit. His wisdom poured into your awareness. And with the command of God, you have the power, strength and wisdom to do things you could never do on your own.
Are you trying to do this on your own? Is it your own strength and might you’re relying on here? How’s that working out for you? Don’t you know God wants to partner with you in this? Your willpower will fail, His power will not. Your willpower is a limited resource, His power is unlimited. With one cry for help, and the next moment of complete surrender to God over your temptation, you have access to an unfailing and unlimited power that will strengthen you and guide you in making the next right choice.
The truth is, many of the things we struggle with are not all that bad. But let me be real clear, this is exactly what the enemy wants to use to ruin your life! He sees a crack, and he wants to weasel his way into that crack and wreck havoc. I know you’re reasoning your decisions out on scale of how genuinely bad they really are. Isn’t it good to take care of yourself? Isn’t it good to seek your own happiness? Isn’t it good to treat yo’self from time to time? Isn’t it good to have a good time? Isn’t it good to surround yourself with people who make you feel good? Isn’t it good to stand up for yourself? Isn’t it good to be free? Romans 7:13 MSG “Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me.”
Oh Sis, that slimy, sneaky enemy of ours has been using these seemingly good things as a cover to tempt us into doing things that would destroy us. Do you see it?
I Corinthians 10:13 says “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
What does this mean? This means you will be tempted. Likely the same exact day you make a commitment to start doing the right thing, temptation will come stare you down.
It never fails when I make a 30 day commitment to not buy any extras, my friend will post her latest great purchase from Amazon and I’ll feel like I really must have it too. Temptation.
I make a commitment to eat right and stay on plan and boom, party with all my favorite goodies are sitting directly in front of me. Why? The temptation is everywhere.
Have you ever noticed when you make a commitment to wake up early the next morning, you have the most restless night of sleep ever? It’s almost comical how ironic life can be sometimes.
You make a commitment to work on your marriage, and that very evening an argument breaks out. And in your head, life without him, or life with another ‘him’, would be better. But just earlier in the day you wanted to work on your marriage. Dang it. Why does that happen? Because Sis, all good things will come under attack.
You have to know your whole life has a target on it. Are you going to just give up here? Are you going to let the enemy take this from you? Does he get to decide what your future will hold? Does he get to limit your God given dreams just because you’re frustrated right now?
Remember, God’s word promises with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape. God will always give you a way out. Always. Temptations will come, but God has already made a way for you to overcome the temptation and escape without utter destruction of your commitment. When your willpower is not enough, tap into his power.
I’m serious here, if you’re trying to be healthy and your absolute favorite food is tempting you beyond your ability to resist, have you ever thought about praying about it before you stuff your whole face in that plate? I know that sounds foolish, but God tells us he will always provide a way of escape, maybe we haven’t been finding it because we haven’t been seeking it. We’ve been in full on surrender mode every time temptation shows up, all while the power to overcome has been within us.
Icecream … must shove in mouth, I surrender.
Wine … yes, calm me down.
Another drink … even better.
Shopping … yes, make me feel better now.
Envisioning a life outside of this marriage … ahhhh, that’s dreamy.
Seek that escape from the temptation. Jesus I’m gonna need your help here, the icecream is calling my name! Wine is pulling me in. The TJMaxx is telling me I need to visit. Amazon wants me to click buy. I’m playing with fire again God. I’m checking out. I’m giving up. I’m being impulsive.
Have you been praying about your marriage and God has been convicting you of your mouth? You’ve been harsh with your words instead of loving, and you want to do better. Then your husband goes and does something world class stupid and you’re about to fly off the handle … wait … God, provide a way of escape for me here. I want to be loving with my words but I’m not sure my willpower to bite my tongue is enough right now, will you help me?
You don’t want to yell at the kids, but they straight up ain’t listening to your sweet voice. So now you’re about to unleash the wild crazed Mama on those heathens …. wait … God, provide a way of escape for me here. I need your help to be strong without the crazy.
I call it a holy pause. A little break in the chaos of the moment to seek God’s power over the situation.
Now why aren’t we doing that? Why aren’t we taking that holy pause before yelling? Why aren’t we taking that holy pause before taking that bite? Why aren’t we taking that holy pause before buying? Why aren’t we taking that holy pause before our thoughts run off to those dark places?
You are not pitiful. You are not weak. You are not helpless. You are a daughter of the king, a real life princess, and you can do hard things. You can resist temptation. You can follow through with your commitments. You can experience success. Yes, you can. How? Call on the power of your God who is faithful, and start seeking the escape he has provided.
A work of the enemy is to convince us that what we want right now is more important that what we want most. We are impulsive. My eyes see it, I want it. Temptation calls, I answer. I feel it, it must be true.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. God has given you willpower. You do have control over what you do and the ability to resist your impulses. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
This is the power God has given you. This is available to you today. Tap into it. Let him be in command over your life. Put him first. Seek him in all things. Take your holy pause. And when he provides the escape from your temptations, take it.