DISCERNMENT AND WILL POWER

The Apostle Paul said, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7. We were wonderfully created, with power, with love, with mind control to decide freely, but we are not making use of our potential. We acquired bad habits.  We let other people make our decisions. We don’t like what we became, and we wish to be like someone else. But our life doesn’t need to be like this. God shared His greatness with us. It is us, we who are not living up to our potential. We live and act with an inferiority complex, as if we were second-quality damaged goods. It is true that we forgot how we were created and think that rising to certain heights is only for a few pre-selected individuals.  However, God didn’t make differences when He created us.  He created us all equal, with the same attributes, and it was He who determined our worth. It is not up to us to decide our value.

There is no good reason for us to believe that we are less than someone else. Our beliefs are what make us think differently.  But that is something that we can change because we are free and have control over our minds. We can change our beliefs, and therefore, we will act differently. We can, with God's help be transformed and achieve the greatness He intended for us. If we think that our character is not what we think it should be, we must remember also that it was molded by ourselves. Certainly there are external influences, but the inner acceptance is the determining factor. If someone says that Charlie is a bad boy, and Charlie accepts that judgment, he may not make any effort to be good; He adopts that negative thought. But if he had refused to accept it, it might have been different. One should never give up the hope of becoming better. When a person says again and again: "I cannot change; this is how I am," then we can say, "Well, stay that way since you have made up your mind to be like that”.

Let us try to be flexible, just like children. God sees no difference in ages, because the soul is ageless and we can make these changes at any age. Those who are always ready to progress and mature are like receptive children, who long to be close to God, and grow in knowledge. The great teachers of God are like that. Being like a child does not mean to be weak. On the contrary, is not being afraid; not to feel intimidated. It is to live for God and for the truth, having love for all. Let’s be ready to stand up for our principles when these are correct, and equally willing to admit our mistakes and correct them when we are wrong. Our character is not written on stone. Thanks to our power of decision, we can modify it, and consequently accomplish what God expects of us as His children.  Let us not settle for any less.

God the Father, not only gave us life but invested us with everything we needed to have a life of victory. We must wake up from this sluggishness and determine that we have had enough of this mediocrity of always wishing and hoping without attaining, because His Word says "I can do all things through ChristA strong will signifies a strong conviction. The moment we say, meaning it, "I am not bound by this habit" the habit will be gone. Let’s try to change in ourselves those things we do against our will, that makes us unhappy after we have done them. The Apostle Paul said, "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." Romans 7:19. This implies that it is applicable to everyone. We must free ourselves from the bondage of bad habits, or the desire to please society, Etc., in order to do, not what we want, but what we must do, and achieve our highest good, which is freedom.

How do we start? Suppose our problem is that we frequently get angry, and afterwards we feel very sorry for having lost our temper.  Before going to sleep, and as we wake up in the morning let’s repeat to ourselves a few times affirming with conviction, “I can change, I have the will to change, I will change” And hold that thought throughout the day. And the change will take place. Remember that anger and love cannot co-exist. Where one is, the other disappears. The first day may be difficult but the second day may be a little easier. The third will be easier still. After a few days you will see that victory is possible. In one year, if you keep up your effort you will be a better person. Let’s decide then that we will avoid getting angry and during the day we will be careful, we will be alert to our emotions.  Habits, we acquired in our own, and we need to undo them by eradicating them from the root. We can remove all these bad habits by acquiring the habit of analyzing our thoughts and behavior. When we see indicative signs of bad habits and inclinations, it is the time to use our discernment and resist with will power.

If we make a vase of clay and fire it, and afterwards we want to give that object a different form, we cannot do so. But we can pulverize the vase and add that powder to fresh clay and then make a different dish. Similarly, when a bad habit is fixed in our mind and we want to change it, we will have to use our strong will to pulverize the habit, then mix it with new good habits and remold it to our desired image.  Both, discernment and will power are necessary. Remolding our perception means to exercise the freedom with which we were created, being guided by the discernment and energized by will power. Discernment is our inner vision, and our willpower is the locomotion. Without will, but due to our discernment we may know what is right, and yet not act on it. It is by acting on discernment what takes us to the realization of our goal.  So both are necessary. Will power is easy to develop. Let’s try first with small accomplishments, and gradually we will get rid of the temptations we thought we could not overcome. We are not going to do it alone. The Lord wants us to live up to our potential, so He will help us once we get in your way.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10.

Ruth