Friday, March 22, 2013
FREE WILLING THROUGH LIFE
FREE WILLING THROUGH LIFE
Yesterday I met a lovely couple to whom I introduced myself, and he turned to his wife and said, “Now this is what I mean. God brings people into our lives and this volunteer is here because God wanted her in our lives for some reason.” Trust me, my socks flew right off, and we ended up having a very interesting conversation. :) I couldn’t get away from them and on to others in the room, but eventually I was called to take a lady back to the room she needed to find. Otherwise I might not have gotten away at all, which might have been fun, but not helpful to anyone else. :)
But God did have a serious purpose in what happened. The wife, it turns out, is afraid to let herself think that God directly influences our choices and that we can actually ask the Holy Spirit to lead us through life. She is also very concerned about her daughter who has withdrawn from God and is searching for a more personally meaningful relationship with Him, but not influenced by her upbringing and family. God truly did answer my prayer (which I shared with them) that He would make me a blessing to someone that day at the hospital. I also had the opportunity to encourage her to practice spending time thinking about God; meditating on all that He is and all that she has come to know about Him so that she can learn to hear the Holy Spirit trying to influence her day. May God take what we talked about and use it mightily in her life as she seeks more of Him.
Now, it is her husband’s fault that I am writing this post today. As we talked, in direct contrast to his opening statement, he kept gleefully bringing up the subject of FREE WILL. Finally I had to mention that I simply do not believe in FREE WILL. And I will tell you, my friends, why: Free will is a term of philosophy and science (i.e. evolution) and is not a term you will find in the Bible. J
Now, this subject is the fodder for many philosophical and doctrinal and even scientific arguments, and I do not intend to overwhelm the zillions of books and papers out there on this subject. I am just going to tell you the way I see it and hope that you think about it for yourself.
As I said, it is not a term you can find in the Bible. It is a term made up by man to identify that which is not influenced by any other things, even God. There is nothing on this earth or in the universe that is not influenced by something, even God. And, though we have WILL, no act of will is FREE. Someone, perhaps many, will pay for it.
In the Old Testament we find a “stiff necked” people willfully, stubbornly screaming in God’s face about how terrible things were and stalking off to do there own thing. They paid for that. Earlier, Adam and Eve willfully ate from the tree. They paid for that and the whole world has paid ever since. Then, in the time of Noah, people had become so willful in their lives that the entire earth was destroyed by the floods and God started over with Noah and his family. And everything basically got worse from there. Ham was cast out of the family and the area. And God soon threw up His hands over the people plotting to stay in one place and build a tower to reach into heaven. They were stricken with language. :) Since then we have had to learn others’ languages in order to speak with each other.
In the years that followed, covenants were made and men broke them. Punishment came, sometimes quickly, sometimes not. God has always and is always and will always follow the lives of men (generic), and He will always be at the ready to influence what is happening and what should happen. And when promises are kept, blessings flow, also under His influence. When promises are broken, right then or later on, punishment follows.
In the N.T., Jesus ties it altogether and shows us that God’s planned influences are truly working to the end He has in mind. And, perhaps most importantly, Jesus tells us outright that if we believe in Him, we will be forever held in the Father’s hand and we WILL be influenced by Him always. We can exert our will, but God is holding us tight enough to keep us from going so far that we cannot get back. When we exert our will over His, we destroy a little something of ourselves and we loose some of the future rewards awaiting us in Heaven. There is a price for exerting our will. Our works, the way we spend out time, the things we fill our minds and hearts with, all of these things will be judged and some will definitely be burned by the fire that He will use at the judgment.
There is influence on all things. Consider the Grand Canyon and all other beautiful formations we see on this tiny planet. All of them were influenced by God. All of them came from the powers of earthquakes, volcanoes, ice, water, and/or wind. And all of them are still being influenced by these God given processes of shaping this earth.
And, as Jesus (who paid the ultimate price for our willfulness) said, we too are influenced by God, everyday, through the power of His word and HIS WILL. ‘No man cometh unto the Father, but by me!” “There is no other way under Heaven by which a man may be saved.” We are born with a purpose and God WILL bring that purpose about in our lives, no matter how hard we willfully fight against it.
May we all think more about how much harm we can do to ourselves and to others when we strike out willfully to prove we can do it ourselves some other way than God’s way. May we wake up in the morning ready to submit to God’s will for us each day and prepared to step out knowing that we have asked Him for guidance and that we know enough about how He works to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. May God’s will be our will every single day.