I’m going to preface this post because of its density. I have asked the Lord to reveal to me the depths of such an incomprehensible topic- the seemingly counter-intuitive concept of human free will existing simultaneously with the inevitability of God’s Will. So, in all fairness, I will do my best to portray to you the beauty of what revelation I was provided with through prayer, and pursuit of the Word as well as other resources. This is a topic weighing heavily on my heart, and I feel a great need to share with any who might be willing to read and because of its length, I am going to break it into two parts. I will post part 2 tomorrow. The details might not be flawless, but the insight is what I feel convicted to share in hopes that it might bring to you the same hope and peace it did to me. Let me start by first stating the foundational statement for which I write all of this:
God’s promises are God’s will.
I am coming to the tail end of perhaps the greatest encounter with adversity I have faced in my life, leading me to rely on the Lord more than I ever have before. A few days ago, I was wrapping up the end of the book “With Christ in the School of Prayer” by Andrew Murray when I found myself running into a very selfish wall- a barrier so-to-speak, to the deepening of my relationship with him and my understanding of him. This chapter was in regards to full submission of one’s will to the will of God. You can imagine the resistance I felt within my heart during this trying time. The words “Thy Will Be Done” are perhaps most difficult to mutter in times of trial, especially when in prayer asking for His divine intervention. Often, the preconceived thought that His will, will be done regardless prevents us from praying our prayers, and lifting our requests up to our Heavenly Father. Sometimes we find ourselves too tired to ask anything of the Lord, because we believe it won’t change anything if it is incongruent with our folly misconception of “God’s Will”.
Too frequently do we submit the power of prayer inherited through Christ’s sacrifice to the idea that “Since he didn’t not answer, it is not His will.”- I have learned that this is far from the truth. (This is the primary subject of what I will discuss in part 2.) There are countless instances throughout The Bible when God gives his people the opportunity to choose. Yes, he gives us such power- now in greater Faith because of Christ living within us, but still the decision is ours nonetheless. Here are a few examples:
We’ll start from the beginning. Let’s go with God on a journey back to the Garden, specifically Genesis 2:16:
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat
Notes: God gave man the freedom to choose, he gave instructions on what to do and what not to do. His command did not prevent Eve or Adam from disobeying God. He spoke the word, he gave instructions, but he did not remove their freedom to choose. This is the foundation of free will in faith.
Don’t stay stagnant in prayer because you assume God is going to do what he is going to do regardless, and while yes, that is in fact still true, if you for a moment think that either decision you make could keep God’s will from being fulfilled regardless, think again. Read the book of Jonah.
We’ll do one more, because I have much more that I’d like to cover: We’ll now go forwards from the Garden, after the death of Moses, among the Israelites, in Joshua 24:15- in his farewell speeches:
15 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. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Notes: The Israelites are now presented with yet another opportunity to choose. Ultimately, the choice is between life or death as it still is today. The choice between serving the flesh or the Spirit is the decision we have to make every day. We won’t get into that now, but I’m going somewhere with this, I promise. Bear with me.
The point here is, God’s word presents us with direction, and suggestion, and guidance— he tells us the path to take. Another example is Romans 10:9 “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.” (Note: “IF”, IF you declare with your mouth- NOT “When”, “IF”.)
Final Thoughts: His Word is like a GPS for our lives, it can provide us with the most effective and efficient route- but it cannot force us to take it. When disobeying his suggestion, he will “re-route” you, providing you with an alternative path to reach the same destination, but again, the choice is yours to make. Personally, I believe it is only a matter of time before ignoring the suggested routes that you find yourself so far from home that you have no where else to turn. What remains unchanged is that God always provides us with a path home no matter how far away we end up- that’s Grace. And boy does he love to have his children return home- just see the parable Jesus told in the book of Luke about the Prodigal Son. It seems to me as though God’s Will provides us with free will, which has many means, many different routes- all of which will inevitably arrive at the same end. The destination remains unchanged, the path we take is the call we must make. Let us not refrain from prayer in this, because His Will is that our prayers be answered- this will be solidified in tomorrow’s post.