The Secret To Instant Will Power!

June 1999

Dear Ministry Friends,

Have you ever crawled under a house where it is dark, musty, and where bugs are scurrying everywhere? I did many times, but I would only do that for one human being on earth — my grandfather, Clifton King (1907-1987).

He grew a big garden on his extra lot in the small town of Windom (population 200). He grew many varieties of produce, including potatoes. He stored the potatoes in the cool crawl space under his old frame house, all spread out on a canvas tarp.

In his older years, it was hard for him to get down that low to get potatoes out — so he would use a hoe to pull some out. But eventually, the potatoes out of his reach needed to be retrieved. And when I would come to visit him, he would sometimes ask me to get a bushel basket full of them out from under the house.

I always shot under there without being asked twice and dragged a basket around until I filled it up. I won't go into detail about the rusty nails sticking out, or how some of the potatoes always rotted under there, and I won't tell you the story about how he killed a snake that was living under the house eating bugs. But I will tell you I never complained once about the chore, and I always had an eager attitude when he asked me to help him. Do you know why? The answer is one word — gratitude.

You see, my Grandad King was the most influential person in my life. He was the most like Jesus of any human I have ever known. He was a man of great accomplishment and character, while being compassionate and humble in everything he did. And he did a lot for me.

Grandad King always had time for me if I had time for him. He took me places, did things with me I wanted to do, and showed sacrificial love like few people I have ever known. And he hardly ever asked anything of me. He just invested himself into my life in all the ways that count.

And so I naturally felt great gratitude towards him, and I was willing to help him any way I could. It was like I had Olympic will-power to do anything he asked.

One day, I was reflecting on why I was so willing to crawl under that house for him. That's when the Lord gave me the revelation about the connection between gratitude and will-power.

The King James translation addresses this concept, but it uses the word "thanksgiving." When most Americans read "thanksgiving," they think of a Thursday in November with turkey. But the New American Standard translation sometimes uses the word "gratitude" in the place of thanksgiving. Because of this, I found that the New Testament teaches us to make a priority of gratitude — towards God especially — so that we can have the will-power to do what's right.

Consider these verses (my comments in Italics). "Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe." Hebrews 12:28 (NAS). (It's saying it is by gratitude that we can successfully serve God in an acceptable way.) Also, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted... in your faith... and overflowing with gratitude." Colossians 2:6-7 (NAS). (It is implying that if we have overflowing gratitude, we can walk successfully in the Lord as easily as we received Him.)

God is telling us to have gratitude for what He has done for us. And we certainly should, when we think of His forgiveness for all our sins, because He gave His only son Jesus. And think about all that Jesus endured to provide that forgiveness. His death process was excruciatingly painful, agonizing, grueling, cruel, and full of suffering. And He did it all for you and me, not for himself.

Even if we never received a special healing from God, a special answer to prayer, supernatural provision in a time of need, divine protection in a moment of danger, or any of God's other special works in our lives, we should still have tremendous gratitude for eternal life — deliverance from Hell and the future Lake of Fire!

The more we reflect on God's gift of Heaven to us who do not deserve it, the more will-power we will have to live right and obey the Word of God. This is a secret source of strength, zeal, enthusiasm, and determination! In my experience, few people have fully utilized this amazing source of power over temptation and sin. And that is a primary reason that I have worked at developing gratitude towards God. Along the same lines, I also try to demonstrate gratitude towards those people who have been a blessing to me. I want to keep a focus on gratitude — and keep that secret source of will-power at a peak at all times.

Think about whatever it is that you might want to accomplish or change. Perhaps it is overcoming a bad habit or sin, perhaps it is starting a good habit, or perhaps it is just losing a few pounds. If we do it for the Lord — and keep ourselves motivated by gratitude for what God has done for us — we can find amazing strength and will-power. But if we are just doing it for ourselves, or because we are concerned about what others think of us, we will have a much harder time changing.

We need to cultivate "an attitude of gratitude" towards God to help us keep our will-power up. Actually, gratitude is the number one reason we should obey God and not sin. It does not reflect gratitude towards God for us to sin after He has provided so great a salvation for us on His own initiative.

Satan accused God of being less than totally good to Adam and Eve, and the enemy is still accusing God of being unfair, not answering prayer, etc., to believers who will listen. However, the Bible contains many verses telling us that we are the ones at fault. It is just not popular to accept the responsibility for the condition of our lives. It is human nature to want to blame someone else. But in spite of the fact we have all blamed God at times, He is still willing to help us climb out of whatever circumstances we have found ourselves in!

And gratitude is even harder to maintain in these "last days." The Bible says in 2nd Timothy 3:1-2 (NAS), "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful..." It is part of the spirit of this age to be ungrateful. So we have to deliberately remember to be grateful to God for what He has already done for us, and not let the enemy cause us to dwell on the things we still want God to do.

I have a tape on this topic that goes into more detail than this teaching letter permits. And as always, we will pray over any prayer requests you send us. We need and appreciate your support of this growing ministry. Anything you feel God would have you do financially will help us greatly at this time, and enable us to minister to more people.


Dale Leander


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