I read something the other day that has radically challenged and changed my thinking. It was about free will. Not as in free will vs. predestination, but as in freedom of choice. As the writer put it:
“Freedom of choice, or more aptly put, free will is not a given… We don't need to decide that we are going to breathe or that our heart is going to pump blood. It happens on its own accord. And so it is for the thousands of involved physiological actions which occur within our bodies every moment of our lives. We could survive without free will. It is not intrinsic to our physical well being.
“Free will is something we need to strive for. It is out there. God put it there. It is what makes repentance possible. Free will is out there but we must access it and we do this by recognizing that God's will is the supreme will. Without God's will there is no will at all. Our free will is not independent of God's will but it exists within God's will… The perfection of our own free will, that is, its ultimate expression, is in accepting God's will as our will.” *
I thought long and hard about the statement ‘free will is not a given.’ I have always believed it was. But if free will really is a given, why do so many people struggle with alcohol, or pornography, or spending too much money ? Why do I struggle with forgiveness, impatience, driving too fast, and resisting those Reese’s peanut butter eggs that are already in stores (in January !) ? Free will, I am coming to see, does actually only exist within the will of God. It’s one of God’s many paradoxes. Choosing His will is the REAL freedom of choice because it’s the choice that defies our sinful human nature on every level. And true freedom is not being a slave to ourselves – not having to take that drink, not having to tell that person off who just made us mad, not having to buy the latest technological gadget.
I have found Jesus’ words to be very true – apart from Him I can do nothing (John 15.5). I don’t have free will/freedom of choice without accessing the power of His Spirit in me. It is my desire to rely and draw on His Spirit so that I can experience true freedom - freedom from myself !
* Taken from The Temple Institute Newsletter, January 20, 2012