Free Will... Choose Wisely!
Would you invite a stranger or someone you didn't trust to live in your home? Probably not... Yet, God has the same dilemma with His heavenly home too.
God is light and the sincerest form of love. Yet, I have often been asked, if there is a God, why is there so much pain and suffering in the World? My reply is always the same...
If God revealed His majesty as the creator of the universe and provided a life with no pain or struggle, what would the purpose of life be? There would be no freedom of choice for mankind or a test of our faith in God. Like any earthly parent, God loves all of His children and wants us all to be happy. And because His love for us is unconditional, He also allows us to reject Him. It is this simple and why life is a test of our faith.
Every one of our lives is a gift from God. Yet, without our free will and the right to choose our own paths in life, there would be no way for our Creator to discover who He can trust to love others, have faith in Him and eventually fellowship in His eternal realm.
God's knowledge amazingly spans all time from beginning to end and already knows all of mankind's future. Because of this, He has already chosen us long before we ever existed. Human beings live and often ignore the reality that our current life is temporary and quite fleeting. God patiently waits for us to seek Jesus as our atonement in the ultimate test of our faith in accepting and appreciating His existence. Our remarkable redemption by grace through Christ's blood at the cross is explained in the 1st Chapter of Ephesians.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment
to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ,
might be for the praise of his glory." -Ephesians 1:7-12
This is why our first purpose is to glorify God's promise to the human race. This is also why God doesn't make His existence obvious, since the purpose of life is a test of faith. The Bible refers to our free will and the trials we will face on many occasions. Our tests and consequences are quite clear.
A good analogy for our lives is if we obtain a college diploma. Would we not be required to experience trials, learn important lessons and pass tests in order to graduate?
In James 1:12 it says:
"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,
for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life,
which God has promised to those who love him."
God is patiently waiting to see who among the human race has the faith and self-control to represent Him in this life and the next.
"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."
- Revelations 3:20 (NIV)
It is up to us to open the door to our hearts to Jesus. And accept that our ultimate purpose in life is not about gaining wealth, popularity or status as Jesus once said:
"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world,
yet forfeit their soul?" - Matthew 16:26
Here's another way of looking at it from God's perspective... When you truly love someone, do you force them to love you back? Obviously not!!!... This is the same with God... He patiently waits for us during our lives as He gives us the option to respond.
This scenario is like the old saying:
"If you love someone, set them free.
If they come back, they're yours.
If they don't, they never were."
In Proverbs 16:9 it says:
"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
Verse 9 reminds us that if we choose to have a relationship with God, He will be there to provide wisdom and help guide us through life's pitfalls.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 it also says:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
Believing in God is the first step, having an active relationship and following God's laws is what really matters in the end. Even demons believe in God, but that does not mean they obey his laws? This notion is mentioned in James 2:19.
"You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!"
Chapter 7 in the Book of Matthew has several revealing verses covering a wide range of subjects. One important lesson is about building an honest relationship.
In verse 21 to 23 it becomes quite vivid as to what happens to those who never build a relationship with God... Like any relationship in life, we build up trust in those we know well. It is the same thing with God.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,
did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name,
and do many mighty works in your name?’
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me,
you workers of lawlessness." - Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)
Just believing that God exists is not what matters in the end... If we hear the message found in the Bible and choose to ignore God and the wisdom of the Scriptures throughout our lives, why should we expect Him to know or trust us after we die? This concept is quite simple, yet the ramifications are eternal.
In the prophetic book of Revelation 3:20 it quotes Jesus where He also says:
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me."
Lastly, the most blatant example of free will is the unfortunate existence of Satan himself. Simply put, God allowed Satan to rebel as He does not force anyone to live by His laws.
The Bible teaches us that Satan was originally a part of God's angelic creation and likely an important Archangel. Satan was overtaken by pride and jealousy, turned against God by persuading a third of the angels (now called fallen angels or demons) to follow his rebellion. This is evidence that God gives ALL of his creation free will. At least for now...
"Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."
Because this revolt brought sin into the world, God graciously brought compassion on humanity by sending Christ to willingly suffer a physical death for the sins of Mankind.
Satan's existence and the evil in our world will eventually come to an end.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Our lives are a gift from God! Living in a universe that includes random anarchy and evil spiritual forces ultimately provides purpose to life. Building a relationship with God is our test and our personal decision. The consequences will last forever!
This reality should inspire everyone to appreciate God's magnificent glory and amazing grace by understanding the purpose of life.
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