I live near Rome, Georgia, home of the Rome Braves professional baseball team. The Rome Braves are the 1-A farm team for the major league Atlanta Braves. If you wanted to see the Rome Braves play you have choices of days of the week, choices of ticket prices, choices of where you wish to sit, and your choice of special promotions like Fireworks Night, Jersey Giveaway Night, Ladies Night, and more. Oh, the choices!
Yet, every day you and I make choices—lots of them. No one coerces our choices. No one has predetermined our choices. We get to choose. And this freedom to make our choices is, in my opinion, one of God’s best gifts to you.
Sometimes, theologians refer to this freedom to choose as human free will. I need to say some things about that before I help you see how special it is to have God-given freedom to choose.
1. Free will means you have the freedom to make choices that determine your destiny.
2. Free will does not mean you can choose to do anything you want. For example, you can’t choose to fly over the Grand Canyon because God did not make humans with the ability to flap wings and fly.
3. You are accountable for the choices you make. If you make good choices that honor God you will be blessed (see Deuteronomy 30:15-20 in the Bible). If you make bad choices that go against God’s standards you will suffer the consequences (see Galatians 6:7-8 in the Bible).
4. Because all humans have a nature inclined toward sin (disobedience to God), the only way we make good choices that honor God are through His grace and power. Otherwise, we never would choose God’s way.
5. Your freedom to choose overrides a view of life called fatalism. Have you ever heard someone say, “Whatever will be, will be?” Or, “If it’s meant to be, it will happen”? Those ideas come from fatalism, the view that future events have already been predetermined by God or another all-powerful force, such as “Fate.”
6. Your freedom to choose also counters determinism, the view that all events of life have already been determined. No, they haven’t. Your choices almost always determine your future destiny.
Again, here’s what I want you to see. God gave you the freedom to choose. And that freedom is one of His best gifts to you. Now, how does the freedom to choose actually impact your life? Consider statements like the ones that follow.
• “I’m not happy.” You have a choice. Choose to be happy.
• “I never have enough money at the end of the month.” You have a choice. Choose to be a better personal money manager.
• “Nothing good ever happens to me. I never can catch a break.” You have a choice. Quit talking like a victim. Take steps to make things happen for your benefit.
• “I don’t have the job I really want.” You have a choice. Get a different job.
• “I don’t know much about the Bible.” You have a choice. Read the Bible. Purchase Bible study helps that improve your Bible knowledge.
• “I’ll never be able financially to retire.” You have a choice. Start saving for retirement.
• “I’ll never get out of debt.” You have a choice. Build a budget. Live within your means. Pay off your debts. Resolve never to go in debt again.
• “I have no friends.” You have a choice. Be a friend to someone.
• “I’ll never get over this.” You have a choice. Pick yourself up, and with God’s help move forward.
• “I don’t know for sure if I will go to heaven when I die.” You have a choice. Choose to give your life to Jesus. Trust His death on the cross to provide forgiveness of your sins and eternal life. You have a choice.