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Monday, December 21, 2020

The Incredible Willpower to Become

By Joe Chesser
 
    God created within humans something that nothing else in creation has – the will and power to become. Trees have no desire to be anything but trees. Animals can be trained to do extraordinary feats, but only if they have a trainer to teach them to shake hands or ride a bicycle or jump through fiery hoops. Only humans have been given the vision and ability to alter their course and fulfill their dreams. God has created within us the incredible willpower (will and power) to become more than we are. In fact, God desires for us to choose to become more than we are. Jesus purposefully gave up equality with God to become like us so that we could choose to be transformed into His likeness (Phil. 2.6-7; Rom. 12.1-2). Believers were predestined to “be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Rom. 8.29).
    But that will not happen without disciplined focus and intentional effort. Although many of us may attempt to do so, no one will drift into the likeness of Jesus. Drifters will give up long before the goal is reached. It’s just too much work. Unless we are fully committed to the end result of becoming like Jesus, trying to live for Jesus will be like the misery and frustration of practicing an instrument just   because that’s what your mom wants you to do. But if you can catch the vision of someday playing that instrument flawlessly in a great concert hall, then the misery turns into joy. Donald Whitney pointed out that if we can remember what we will become, the effort will have its reward. But discipline without direction is drudgery.
    No wonder Paul could endure such hardships. He saw the challenges of the moment merely as stepping stones to achieving his goal, becoming like Jesus (Phil. 3.10-14). He then considered his difficulties as “light and momentary troubles” because he exercised the God-given ability to fix his eyes on Jesus (2 Cor. 4.16-18). Most of our spiritual drudgeries are due to taking our eyes away from Jesus and looking at anything else around us: friends, travel, sports, family, work, rest, entertainment, etc. These things are not wrong in themselves. But they do distract us from keeping our eyes on Jesus as the focus of our heart. It is inevitable that if Jesus is not your focus, your spiritual health will diminish dramatically, and you will lose the joy of living for him.
    The good news is that God has created within each of us the incredible and life-changing willpower to train our hearts and actions towards godliness (1 Tim. 4.7). God will help you; so can others. But the decision to exercise this power is only yours to make.
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


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