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A Lack Of Won’t Power

A woman went shopping and bought a new dress that she knew she couldn't afford. When she got home, her husband asked her, "Why did you do it?" She alibied, "I just couldn't help myself. The devil tempted me." The husband wouldn't let her off the hook and countered, "Why didn't you say, 'Get behind me Satan?' She replied with a sigh, "I did. But he just leaned over my shoulder and whispered, `My dear, it fits you beautifully in the back.' " That lady reminds me of this quote credited to John A. Shedd — "Many men have too much will power. It's won't power they lack" (The New Speaker's Sourcebook; Zondervan, 1968).

A lack of won't power — that thought gives us something to think about. Much misery and suffering has come into the world because people suffer from a lack of won't power. A couple of well-known examples from the Bible illustrate the point. Eve and her husband Adam displayed a bodacious lack of won't power. Genesis 2:8-17 reveals that these two lived in Paradise — literally! God's provisions were copious and complete. In modern parlance, Adam and Eve "had it all." Except one thing — they lacked sufficient won't power. God made very clear there was one restriction to their otherwise unfettered access to the physical and tangible delights of the Garden of Eden: "do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and if you do 'you shall surely die " (see Genesis 2:15-17). We, as Paul Harvey was famous for saying, "now know the rest of the story." The devil, in the form of a serpent, used some slick talk and deceit to tempt Eve and break down her will power. She and Adam found themselves in a bad jam after eating that forbidden fruit — a jam that included spiritual and physical death. A second example is King David's horrible lack of won't power in 2 Samuel 11. The same powerful warrior who had earlier faced off against & brought down the mighty Goliath is done in by his own lust one night when he caught a glimpse of the beautiful bathing beauty Bathsheba. A healthy dose of won't power would have immediately turned David away from his lust. But he lingered and looked until he was hooked — and the Bible says he sent for her and had sex with her even though he knew she was another man's wife. The result was a truckload of shame, sorrow, and suffering that affected not only David and Bathsheba but also their families for years to come (chronicled in 2 Samuel 12ff).

A lack of won't power is killing us. Drugs, divorce, profanity, pornography, vulgarity, violence, greed, gossip, laziness, lust, adultery, alcohol-abuse, etc., etc. — we hem-haw around and offer all kinds of psychological and sociological explanations for these and other problems we face today. But if we were honest enough to admit it, many if not most of them are related to a lack of won't power on the part of millions of people. In great contrast to all this is Jesus Christ. Matthew 4:1-11 records Jesus facing a series of powerful temptations from the devil in the wilderness. We have little room for comment on that event except to say that won't power won the day! Read the text for yourself and see — Jesus used Scriptures (from Deuteronomy) again and again to boost His won't power! He resisted the devil and his relentless attacks until the devil left Him. God grant us more won't power as we face today's temptations.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ