Two thoughts on will-power and a little commentary:

Recently, I was listening to Christian radio and heard one of those cheesy one-minute teachings where a guy said [and I'm paraphrasing, but still trying to capture the heart of what he said], "If we follow the Spirit, we'll have more will-power to not do the things we don't want to do." His example was over-eating and how, if we listen to the Spirit more, we could have the power to will ourselves to not eat as much.

The other is a memory of an old dc Talk album Free at Last that is filled with tons of funny, short diddies. One of those entitled Will-power had these lyrics:

"Will-power, will-power, will-power, the power to will away temptation," along with a faint and quick "temptation sold separately, batteries not included."
Pretty funny for 1992.

The only problem is that I do not believe either of these reflect reality. It seems like the emphasis in Scripture is the Spirit giving us power to do what God asks of us, not the Spirit giving us the power to wall off temptation from ourselves.

I know, I know, nit-picky. But the difference that I've seen play out in my own life is not so nit-picky. When I understand I'm given power to do God's will, I also must know that doing so will often bring me closer to temptation. If I understand God giving me the power to "will away temptation," the focus is on me not sinning, which is not the point of the Spirit-life.

Yes, God commands us to be pure and holy, setting ourselves apart, but this is only the beginning, not an end unto itself. We're elected and chosen to be holy because God's wants us to build His Kingdom Reality on earth - in service, love, and koinonia with other believers. We're His ambassadors to this world, and how will we do this without being sent into the world?

This is the heart of what it means to be a believer. We are here to love, serve sacrificially, obey and echo God's call, and enjoy koinonia with others. We're not here to not sin.

OK, I feel beter. Thoughts, anyone?


bob hyatt said...

weeeellll... I hear what you are saying. We don't want to reduce the Gospel of the Kingdom to a gospel of sin-management. But the fruit of the Spirit is a lot of cool things, including "self-control." Seems like that's in the mix somewhere, right?

Drew Caperton said...

Point taken, but "self-control" itself would be a manifestation of the Spirit, but something we accomplish with our will, right? I'm really asking because I'm still unsure of this, so please, read me open to different thoughts.

Drew Caperton said...

OK, another thought. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, totally tracking with you. If we are in the Spirit, we are given the power to withstand temptation. I stand with you on that.

I think I'm arguing for the pro-activity of the Spirit instead of living the Spirit-life in defensive mode. Just like the other fruits of the Spirit [love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness] are not defensive but pro-active.

I think "withstanding temptation" when it comes at us and "sin-management" are very easily confused for one another.

jnthn said...

some thoughts i've been having lately: the connection of good and evil. i'm trying to rethink how i view what is 'evil'. my starting point is the assumption that since god created everything then at the base of everything is god; therefore we should rethink evil, because maybe its not so evil after all.
also following the same line of thought, i am created in a certain way, i have certain desires. instead of flatly denying my desires which most of traditional christianity holds as practice i am trying to not deny myself. i sin, but it seems not as much as before and at least i feel the freedom which should arise from christ.
this isn't my complete thought, but its a start; hopefully it makes sense.