WILLPOWER AND GOD POWER OR NOT?

I was going to write about how we are to replace willpower with Holy Spirit power to help us win the battle to stop overeating. But as I began to meditate on it I began to get a different viewpoint come to me.

What is willpower? 

  • willpower is the inner strength to enable you to make decisions and carry them out. 
  • willpower gives you the strength to take action and perform tasks and plans, despite inner resistance, discomfort, laziness or difficulties.
  • when there is willpower there is firmness, decisiveness, determination, assertiveness, resolution, persistence, and the power of pushing yourself toward goals and achievements.
  • willpower is the ability to control yourself; strong determination that allow you to do something difficult.
  • willpower is control exerted to do something or restrain impulses.
  • willpower is strength of will, strength of character, firmness of purpose, resolve, single-mindedness, drive, commitment, dedication, staying power, backbone. 


Do we replace our willpower with Holy Spirit power, or do we join the two together when it comes to stopping overeating, or other areas of our Christian life that we need help in?

I’ve realised I had this anti attitude to the whole concept of willpower for a Christian. Like it’s something we don’t do! 

We are made up of the old man and the new man (2 Cor 4:16; Eph 4:21-24; Col 3:9-10). When we were saved we became a new person, a new creation. But the old us is still living with us – our old flesh. We are told to walk, live, and be led by the Spirit in order to please God. Romans 8:5-11 talks about not being carnally minded but spiritually-minded. We have this war going on in us – our old sin nature/flesh opposing our spiritual nature/spiritual man. 

Now I can say all day that I’m going to let the Holy Spirit influence me with my eating. The Holy Spirit will give me the power I need to resist overeating and resist junk food, and resist making food way more important than it really is. I can say all day that I am going to live by the fruit of the Spirit of self-control (Galatians’s 5:23 where self-control is tucked in there right at the end of the fruits), but why will I blow it by overeating, bingeing, craving up a storm and eating, eating, eating and generally being out of control.

Doesn’t it take my willpower AND the power of the Holy Spirit to battle this? Look at definitions of willpower – firmness, decisiveness, determination, assertiveness, resolution, persistence, strength of will, strength of character, firmness of purpose, resolve, single-mindedness, drive, commitment, dedication, staying power, backbone.

Don’t we need to be determined to obey the Holy Spirit? Don’t we need to be resolved to obey God’s Word and not eat with no self-control whatsoever? Don’t we want to be single-minded in surrendering our eating habits to God? Don’t we want to be committed to daily putting God first before food? Don’t we want to be people who have staying power where it comes to living out the Word of God?

Our “I will” power takes us to the throne of God and says “I surrender food and I will be determined (willpower) to obey You where food is concerned and to walk daily in victory with the aid of our Helper the Holy Spirit?


Our willpower and Holy Spirit power go hand in hand. Victory is secured when the 2 work together.