Friday, August 21, 2009

The Divine Challenge

My last post didn't really communicate what I wanted to say--the words just kind of took on a life of their own and I couldn't rein them in. I asked Rick about it and he said I combined too many ideas. He's right. (But at least the stock photo was adorable, don't you think?)

So I will take one small part of that last post and elaborate on it: our free will, and how God uses it to further his will. Free will truly is the great divine challenge. Without it, there would be no evil. But God saw fit to bestow on his creatures the dignity of choosing whether or not to serve him. He is not a laissez faire Father, however; he works in our souls and circumstances to unify our wills with his.

In my own life God has chiseled away at my stubborn pride without once violating my freedom to choose (but he still has a long way to go). If God was willing to undermine my freedom, he could have done so easily a long time ago and forgone this painstaking process. But he wants us to serve freely, by the power of his Spirit within us.

I see the interplay of my will and God's when he orchestrates divine appointments between me and another person. I usually sense that God is at work, even though I don't always understand the dynamic until afterwards. His Spirit takes the lead, and he works through me, but not in an absolute way. He leaves me the power to completely blow it, which does happen, especially if fear or pride overtakes me. And sometimes everything goes well until God says, "Okay, that's great--you can stop talking now." But I'm not ready to turn off the flow of words quite yet and clunk!--I say something that hits the wrong noteSo I learn to listen to his Spirit more closely next time. 

But there is no question that my free will is very real and that God respects it. It is a costly gift. In fact, he died for it. He could have stopped Adam and Eve from eating that fruit. But instead, he went to Calvary to pay the cost of that mistake and redeem for himself a people who will serve him in freedom.

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