How Free Will Blows with the Wind of God
Updated: Jan 17
This post is about human free will and the freedom within limits that comes from following the wind of God.
Human Free Will: Do We Get to Choose?
Free will is a hot topic among theologians and those who argue for personal choice versus God's sovereignty. But just how much freedom do we humans really have? The debate is particularly passionate among Calvinists and Arminians, and Dr. John MacArthur offers his thoughts in this video.
The discussion is still ongoing, and many accomplished Biblical scholars have wrestled with the subject. And, since it's been an ongoing debate for over 500 years, I'm unlikely to offer a compelling enough argument to sway your opinion one way or the other.
Therefore, I will offer my reflections on scripture and how God changed my life after I chose to follow His Divine Wind.
God's Will and Our Free Will
First, I believe there are some "non-negotiables" when it comes to being an On-Fire Believer. Here are just three examples. Notice that our debate in question is NOT one of them:
1. Jesus is the only way to Heaven,
3. We are saved by grace through faith.
Second, God's Will and our free will aren't mutually exclusive. Both can be true, but God is the Creator, not you or me. Thus, God always possesses ultimate free will; He is sovereign. So, He can make the command decision regarding what we are free to choose and what He retains for Himself. God reminds us,
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
Personally, I'm thankful that God makes the ultimate decisions. Only God knows how many foolish mistakes I nearly made; any one of them could have been fatal or, worse, eternal. Only God knows how many times He saved me from my poor choices. No, I'm better off NOT having the final decision. How about you?
Is God Calling You? A Simple Test
If you have ever wondered if God has chosen you or if it's just your wild imagination, here's a simple test. If you feel that God is calling you, He is. If you don't feel Him calling you, He isn't. At least not yet, apparently. It can be that simple unless you choose to complicate it. Recall what Jesus tells us,
"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:19- 20
God has a way of letting us know He is knocking on the door. For one person, it may be a soft, respectful tapping. Just enough to get your attention. For others, like me, He had to nearly kick the door down because I was so distracted by the world. I was so immersed in sin. Fortunately, "The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
We know repentance of sin will be necessary if we choose Jesus. Only lukewarm faith requires no change of lifestyle. Imagine hearing Jesus knock on your front door. You open the door, and Jesus says to you,
"Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living." Joshua 24:14-15
What do you say as your free will response to God? Do you say, as Joshua did, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." That's what I said, and that's when the real adventure began.
The Lord spoke as in scripture, "If you declare with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
Here is our assurance; that making a free will choice, a choice that says "yes" to Jesus, will lead to everlasting life. But, it will also require more choices, resulting in many lifestyle changes.
Born Again of the Wind, The Spirit
When the Pharisee Nicodemus visited with Jesus, I'm convinced he knew Jesus was the Messiah. He was aware of Jesus' Divinity but still not fully awakened to what it meant for him (and us). Jesus tells Nicodemus, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." John 3:3
Jesus explains that we must be born again of Spirit. "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised by My saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:6-8
The Beginning of a Life-Changing Adventure
Think about those last two sentences above..."You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
Those two sentences begin a life-changing adventure for the believer. We are no longer spectators but participants in a timeless wind-blowing exchange between God and us. Amazing. We don't just read,
"Then He called The Crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me." Mark 8: 34
You and I are in the crowd! Jesus is asking us again to make a free will choice to follow Him. But again, notice that He doesn't say we can remain as we are. We must change our ways to be consistent with our new life.
Our Brother, the Apostle Paul, tells us, "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." Galatians 5:13
We feel the movement of the Wind, the Spirit of God, as He offers us a choice. As we choose the cross, our freedom transforms into "freedom within limits." No longer freedom of the flesh, but freedom of the Wind.
Freedom Within Limits: A New Life
Choices and "freedom within limits" have always been part of God's plan for His creation. Think about our earliest beginnings,
"And the Lord God commanded the man, you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die." Genesis 2: 16-17
Why did God forbid eating from this one tree? Beyond the awakening to original sin, God was teaching (and expecting) obedience. I've never found God's requirement of obedience too harsh or arbitrary. I've never been rebuked or corrected by the Holy Spirit unless I moved out of alignment with His purpose. It was always for my own good, even if I didn't realize it at that moment.
Our freedom is within the limits of the new person, freedoms that align the all-in believer with God's plans. And we hear the voice of God through the writings of the Apostle Paul once again,
"So I say, walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want." Galatians 5: 16-17
Just as God warned Adam directly in the Garden of Eden, He is warning us indirectly through Paul with a similar message. Once we make a free will choice to pick up our cross and follow Jesus, don't turn back.
Conclusion: Don't Turn Back in The Last Days
Saying yes to Jesus, denying myself, and taking up the cross has been the best decision of my life. However, the Apostle Peter offers a sobering message to all of us, especially those living in the last days, as I believe we are.
If we are born anew of the Spirit, there can be no turning back. Free will to say "yes" to the cross has many benefits, but going back on our word to Jesus has chilling consequences. So move toward the Wind and the life that follows if you intend to persevere until the end. Make your free will choice carefully and remember what the Apostle Peter said to us about the corrupt world in which we live,
"if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from the trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority." 2 Peter 2:9-10
Finally, God warns us through Peter, "It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them." 2 Peter 2:21
Stay strong in the faith. God will not let you down. In Jesus' mighty name. Amen.