I don’t know why I’d ever go deer hunting when sitting still is so hard for me. Nothing makes you need to fidget like being told to sit still. Nothing makes you want to touch something like the words “wet paint.” No dress can make a woman look as good as the words “thou shalt not.”
Human nature is rebellious; we want to do what we’re not supposed to do. This is true even for believers. We may have been crucified with Christ, but the flesh isn’t quite dead yet.
Some psychologists today think that will power is like a muscle. Unfortunately that means it can get tired. It appears we can use up our will power, so putting too much effort into self-control in one area may make it hard to do so in another one. This suggests we should consider carefully what is actually worth struggling with ourselves over – much like you have to learn to pick your battles with your spouse or children.
The good side of will power being like a muscle is that it can grow stronger. Yes, they say it’s possible to overexert your will power, but if you stretch yourself carefully, you may find your ability to govern yourself growing.
And we don’t simply have to grit our teeth and fight temptation. On some occasions, we’re told, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7), but other times we’re told to flee (1Cor 6:18, 10:14, 1Tim 6:11, 2Tim 2:22). In either case, we’re promised God will not let us be tempted more than we can bear, but “when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1Cor 10:13).
Of course, I don’t think believers are left solely at the mercy of their own will power. The same divine power that raised Christ from the dead is devoted to transforming us into His image (Eph 1:19, Rom 8:28-29). Still, God rarely drags us kicking and screaming into that image, but if we’re willing, if we call out to Him, He will rescue us.
“…Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”