GOING YOUR OWN WAY
Bernard - Publisher
"I have set before you life and death, the
blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving
the LORD, your God, heeding His voice, and holding fast to Him."
Deuteronomy 30: 19-20
Free Will! How far we have taken it from its original
purpose. Most of us do not consciously realize that it is indeed a gift direct from
God. Without understanding its spiritual purpose, we declare, "This is what I
want to do. I don't have to answer to anyone. This is my life."
ACCORDING to the Catholic
Encyclopedia, "The term 'Will', as used in Catholic philosophy, may be briefly
defined as choice. It consists in selecting, by the light of reason, its object from
among the various particular conflicting aims of all the tendencies and faculties of our
nature". Galations 5:13 defines
it in plain terms "For you have been
called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But dont use your freedom to
satisfy your sinful nature. Instead,
use your freedom to serve one another in love."
And yet, there are questions that plague mankind about whether we truly have
Free Will to make choices and this has been debated for many years. Some determine
it is the power to be able to make an action come to life or fruition for purposes of our
own, whether for good or for evil, without intervention from God. Others say if it
is "free" and God knows the ending, it negates the freedom of our choices.
WHY then, did God give us this gift knowing mankind would misuse
it? Although Free Will was entrusted to us,
we are limited in knowing fully why He offers it,
except to understand that because He loves us, He wants us to love Him in return.
And He wants us to extend that love to our brothers and our sisters. By loving Him, we must be willing to accept the burdens
and hardships we will face by following the path His Son, Jesus Christ has set for all of
us who believe in Him.
GOD does not make our choices for us, nor does He
tempt us, rather it is the evil that exists on earth that presents man's greatest desires
in tempting array.
Consider Adam and Eve who used Free Will in the Garden of Eden to eat the forbidden fruit
God warned them not to
eat. Even then, choices were made that ignored God's plan for
humanity. Eve blamed her action on the serpent who tempted her in the Garden of Eden
with clever logic. Nonetheless, we are told that "No
one experiencing temptation should say, I am being tempted by God, for God is not subject
to temptation to evil, and He Himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted
when he is lured and enticed by his own desire." - James 1:13.
ON a small and human level we can see the action of Free Will within our
children. For example, a child at a young age
unconsciously recognizes and uses choice to take a forbidden cookie from a jar even though
he or she has been told not to do so. Now the
parent knows that the child will succumb to the enticement but did not take that choice
away from the child.
There are ordinary choices that we make everyday. We choose our schools,
what movies to see, our mates, our friends, our clothes, our food, where we want to live;
a whole myriad of possibilites on which we have to make a decision. These are non-
threatening choices and once made they fall into the past without incident.
writing on mans Free Will states: Now wherever it is said, Do not do this, and Do
not do that, and wherever there is any requirement in the divine admonitions for the work
of the will to do anything, or to refrain from doing anything, there is at once a
sufficient proof of Free Will. No man, therefore, when he sins, can in his heart blame God
for it, but every man must impute the fault to himself. Nor does it detract at all from a
man's own will when he performs any act in accordance with God. Indeed, a work is then to
be pronounced a good one when a person does it willingly; then, too, may the reward of a
good work be hoped for from Him concerning whom it is written, He shall reward every man
according to his works"
DOES this mean that man is left to ferret out
right from wrong by himself through the choices he makes? No, for we depend on the
Holy Spirit and our conscience to put a "halt" to the things that are not in
accordance with God's design for us. It is
the dispensation of Grace, a free unmerited
favor given by God, that sustains and strengthens us through the temptations we encounter.
SOME of us will recognize strongly the "nudge" of God offering
salvation, but we can reject this offer and go our own way. Proverbs 1:24
reads,"Because I called and you refused, I extended my hand and no one took
notice." Consider, even though we may reject the love that God has for us,
reject His offer of eternal life, that offer is so strong it does not die. It is
only when we continue to deny God and say "no" that it no longer becomes clear
to us because it becomes tangled within our Free Will, silenced to a mere whisper by our
earthly wants and desires. But the invitation remains alive, through God's eternal love,
struggling to be heard and acted upon.
FREE Will is an
elective power, a freely given gift to all. It is a choice within us to do
what we deem spiritually important, determining the paths leading to a Christ-like existence
in genuine obedience to God. It is present in those who live righteously and mindful of what God wants. One of the first most important decisions we should make is to use our Will to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord of
salvation. Then, together with the powerful
alliance of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to discern what God intends for us; His plan
for our lives.
AVOID sexual sin, remembering the true purpose God intends for humanity, avoid taking what is not yours, avoid idle gossip, for it offends God
and causes others pain. Be generous to the poor or the needy, whether it is a monetary, emotional or spiritual need. Honor your bodies
that God put within your care,
remembering it is the temple for your soul. Be
watchful of using others for your own gain and pleasure. Treat each person with the
respect and love we wish for ourselves. Shun all things offensive to God. Be vigilant, for we do
not know when we will be called to our eternal home. Remember that for
those who believe, the Holy Spirit is there to guide and help
us to stay clear of all things that displease Almighty God.
HOW will you use your Free Will?
Will you choose it for good or will you choose it for wrongdoing? Most importantly, will you use it to love God and
accept the salvation Jesus Christ offers us?
instead, go your own way?
"Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible
attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able
to be understood and perceived in what He has made.
As a result, they have no excuse; for although
they knew God they did not accord Him glory as
or give Him thanks. Instead, they became vain
in their reasoning, and their senseless minds
were darkened." - Romans 1:20-21
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