"Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be." "There is no fate except what we make." Which movie line is true? What role does free will play? Fatalism is an assumption that leads people to "give in to the inevitable." It is a belief that you and I have no say so, no choice, that we're swept along powerless to affect our future. We're victims of DNA, of chance, of some distant deity's arbitrary will. Really?
Let's think about this. Yes, some things were decided for us. There are things in my life over which I had no control. I was born an American. I was born in the 20th century. I didn't choose my parents, nor did they choose me. They had three kids when, after a 15-year gap, surprise -- twins -- one of whom was me. I didn't choose to be a male. I didn't choose to be white. I didn't choose to be Southern. But by the grace of God, I'm all those things.
Against my will, I've grown bald. I complain about it, but it does no good. I didn't choose to be nearsighted. I didn't choose to have a high I.Q. but God made me smart. These are things that were decided for me before I was born.
What can I change? What choices can affect my life going forward? Do I drift on the whims of chance, the push and pull of culture, the ebb and flow of circumstances? Or do I have the power of purpose? What can I do to select my path? What beliefs will frame better choices? Some choices are more important than others, like turning to God or getting married.
I courted and married my lovely Lana. I selected her -- the perfect spouse for me. Thank God, she chose me back. We impacted our lives for good by prayerfully making the right choice.
We all have a measure of power. Within life's boundaries, within our sphere, we hold the ability to decide. Amazingly, God respects our will. That's an awesome realization. God honors my decisions as a human being.
It was prophesied of Jesus that he would die on a cross. Did that make it certain? No, for he chose to go there. He went willingly, like a lamb. God's will and his free will intersected. We can resist God or yield.
If I want to overeat and be lazy like a sloth, I have that right. If I want to feed my mind on endless nonsense, I can do it. If I want to believe the drivel that comes from accusers whose goal is discord and civil unrest, then I'm the one choosing deception. It matters who you agree with or what you believe. If I wanted to reject God's love displayed in Jesus on the cross, I have that right. Free will is astonishing!
It empowers me that I know the Bible. It gives me a grid or framework within which I can make informed choices. I have my part. God has his part. He is a covenant-keeping God who wants humanity delivered from fear and Satan's snares. He wants us to enjoy life. He gave us freedom to choose eternal life.
Being informed by his will, I've learned about our corporate power in Christ to affect the future by praying in faith. Am I worried about heaven? No. For me as a believer, there's nowhere else to go. That choice was made for me already by the Son of God. Changing this world now is my concern.
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Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Email him at email@example.com or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 05/16/2018
Print Headline: Free will or fate