Take one look at me and you know that I don’t have any will power! I love food. Let me restate that – I really love food. Without over-analyzing the situation, I realize that this is one temptation that I just can’t overcome on my own.
I used to have another bad habit. For about 25 years, I smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day. I’m not proud of that but I tell you to illustrate a point. I used to think that I didn’t have any will power to stop smoking either. Every time I would try to quit on my own, I would start right back up again. I used to joke that I quite 100 times, I just started 101 times. One day a few years ago, I thought I was having a heart attack. It wasn’t anything but it was enough to think that I might want to be around longer for my kids. I knew that I was powerless over cigarettes and I needed God’s help. I prayed that night and asked God to give me the strength to resist the temptations that were going to come my way when I tried to quit smoking. The next day, I woke up and I didn’t have any cravings. I just kept waiting for that overwhelming urge to smoke. Day after day I waited. Anytime I thought about having a smoke, the thought passed quickly. I was conscious that God was strengthening my will to resist. I could choose to smoke or not to smoke. God wasn’t preventing me from smoking, He just made it easier for me to choose the right action. It has been a few years now since I quit smoking and I don’t even have a memory of what it was like to moke. God not only strengthened my will to resist temptation, he has now even removed any memory of what it was like to smoke. Praise God!
Yesterday I talked about our conscience and how it is our built-in monitor that lets us know what is right and wrong. We have another attribute that is connected to our conscience. God gave us a will. The will is our faculty of choosing or deciding between possible courses of action. We can freely choose to do anything that is consistent with our nature. When man was created God gave him the power of choice: to sin or not to sin.
We also have the power to accept God or reject God. We can accept Christ as Savior or reject Him. He doesn’t force us to do so. By an act of will, we can accept the offer and become a child of God; or we can reject His offer and remain under His judgment. In this process, both the will of man and the will of God are involved.
In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” You have to act on that knock. You can either get up and open the door or you can leave Him standing out in the cold. It’s up to you. You have free will.