Free will. You may wonder why I am questioning free will. It all starts with that word 'free' which leads us to think about 'freedom'. Who doesn't want freedom? People have fought and died to achieve freedom in one form or another - freedom of speech, political freedom, freedom from slavery, the freedom to exercise the right to vote. There have been those who would stem the idea of freedom in the lives of others through killing. So why would I dare question freedom?
This discussion is regarding free will in the spiritual sense, so only if you are a believer can you truly understand, appreciate and ponder these thoughts. Free will. We have it. God gave us free will. We can choose whether or not to serve him. We can decide how intimate our relationship is with him, how often we got to church, we can determine if we want to support a religious institution financially and obey spiritual leadership. We can choose to live a good, clean, holy life or have a devil-may-care attitude and do anything and everything under the sun that we are big and bad enough to do. Having free will means we have choices and we can decide what paths to take throughout our lives.
Do I really want that much power over my own soul? Can I handle that much power over my daily life? Many of us can't. Some of us choose to do the stupidest, most detrimental things that can ruin our lives, as well as damn our souls to hell. Why do we want that much freedom over our souls?
I can understand the point of choosing God and living the life over rejecting God and Jesus. I can understand that there will come a point in some of our lives when we decide that we want to live a life where our steps are ordered by God. Once that decision is made and we accept Jesus Christ as our personal saviour, why not then can free will end? Why can't we lose the ability to go back, to fall into old habits, wicked ways and "backslide"? Why not? Why can't the acceptance of the holy spirit of God in our lives be an impenetrable shield that does not allow temptation, lusts and reprobated thoughts to enter within?
Until the moment of conversion, we have spent our lives making choices. For converts, whether it is at the age of 7, 9, 15, 20, 30 or 40, there came a time when we conscientiously decided and said, "Yes to your will, and yes to your way, Oh God!" Up until that point we made various choices and thought about it. Maybe for a while we were teenagers and thought about premarital sex, but we liked God's ways for our live better and at the age of 16 said not to sex but yes to God. Or maybe we were 33, and after a life time of feeling a void that we tried to fill with sex, money, drugs, gambling, or whatever we did, we finally said, "Mercy, Lord. Your will be done."
So we freely lived, and freely decided, and now we have received God but we still are free to go back if that is what we choose to do. Once God moves in our lives, but the trials are still many in our lives, and the challenges still remain, sometimes we decide that we can serve God and be spiritual, but still do a few of those old things that we enjoyed before we came running to God. Why are we allowed to make that choice? Did we really convert or are we just too weak to be with God?
Without this wonderful spiritual freedom, it would be so easy. Once we receive God, there would be no way we could go back. Temptation will not linger and sidetrack us. Evils would not harm us and thoughts would not drive us to commit ungodly acts. Wouldn't that be great?
More than despising free will, I love the grace and mercy of God. I love the fact that no matter what, he loves us and wants us to be his. He has not left room for excuses. He allows us choices so that we can come to him out of a true love for him and desire to be with him. He allows these tribulations and hardships so that we can know, feel and experience the fact that he is there for us. We travel to the depths of shame, humiliation and degradation so that we can experience his grace and mercy and truly know within ourselves that He will never leave us. He is there, we only have to call out to him.
Without choices and experiences, how can we learn from mistakes and allow our life story draw to others to him? How can we know without a doubt that he is with us no matter what? How else, if not for free will, grace and mercy, can we know the power and love of God? We cannot without the freedom to choose him.