Freewill: A beautiful gift that has the power of destruction.
Humans have little power, and yet the freewill we have has the ability to break our world. Sin is highly destructive.
The belief that we can do whatever we want is shouted in American culture as we hold on tightly to our personal autonomy. We can say what we want, do whatever we want (at least regarding our own bodies), and others have no right to tell us how to live.
Not Everything Is Beneficial
Sometimes we fail to consider how much we may be hurting ourselves in the process. Freewill does give us the option to make any decision we want, but that doesn’t mean we are actually free (but that is a whole other blog).
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial…
1 Corinthians 6:12a
In this verse Paul was specifically talking about sexual immorality, but the verse can be applied to every decision we make. For instance, under the 1st amendment I have the right to say whatever I want. However, insulting others under the banner of freedom of speech is not beneficial. Sometimes we shouldn’t do the things we have the right to do.
The Destruction in Freewill
In Ephesians, the Bible talks about taking off the old self and putting on a new self. Beginning in Ephesians 4:25 there is a deeper explanation of things we are supposed to “take off” and things we are supposed to “put on.”
Characteristics we are told to take off include falsehood, stealing, unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, slander, sexual immorality, and greed. Characteristics we are told to put on include speaking truthfully, working/doing something useful with your hands, building others up, purity, kindness, compassion, walking in the way of love, and thanksgiving.
Now line all these things up side-by-side and you get two lists. One side is overwhelmingly negative (but may seem appealing in the moment). The other is overwhelmingly positive (but for some reason we resist or ignore.) I promise you the old self, our sinful nature, is what drives war, broken hearts, division, selfishness, and pain. The new self brings joy, forgiveness, reconciliation, care, and peace.
God Wants The Best For Us
Often times we want to hold onto many of the pleasures in life that God instructs us to take off, but God wants us to turn away from our sin (2 Peter 3:9). He wants us to have a life that is so much better than we can imagine. God gives us this guidance, because He loves us and wants to protect us.
Freewill is a wonderful gift, but for some reason we are drawn to things that hurt others and us. I can’t tell you your life will go to shambles for living in the old self, but I can assure you your life won’t go to shambles because you are living in the new self. For example, I can’t tell you your life will be damaged from partaking in drunkenness. I can tell you your life won’t be damaged by staying sober.
A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.
Furthermore, we often get mad at God for the consequences of own actions. Sometimes our personal freewill to live in sin causes pain in our own lives, but we blame God for it.
Proverbs 2:11 states, “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” God’s rules often seem annoying and unappealing, but He ultimately is trying to guide us to the best life. When we listen to His guidance, we gain wisdom.
The Beauty In Freewill
The question can be raised ‘How can there be beauty in freewill if it leads to so much evil?’ I will never know or understand all of God’s decisions, but I do know God wants a relationship with every single one of us (1 Timothy 2:4). He wants to love us and for us to love Him (Romans 8:29). Without freewill, we cannot chose to love God. We would be forced to love Him and that is not love. He didn’t want to create puppets.
God’s word cries out to anyone who will listen with guidance on how to end the wrongdoing that hurts us. However, He gives us the option to choose something other than Himself. He gives us the ability make mistakes and learn how much sin can hurt. Ultimately, our freewill is evidence that God desires genuine relationships.