Free Will or Destiny

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

James 4:13-15 NASB

Modern Christianity, for the most part, has accepted the notion that God maintains a laissez-faire policy towards His creation. Those of us who have been raised in the U.S. were taught from young that we can have it our way; and that we can be whatever we want to be. In our churches we are taught that God wants to be in charge of our lives, but only if we, first, allow Him to take charge. This attitude paints a picture of a God on the sidelines, only interceding in our lives when called upon to either provide us with our wants and desires or to rescue us from our problems.

I’m sure you’ve also heard many sermons and teachings about being in the “center of God’s will.” I wasn’t aware that God’s will had a center. God’s will is God’s will. These same church leaders will also try to tell you that you can miss God’s will for your life. That being true, then it places man’s will above God’s. However, if God truly does have a will for your life then you do, in fact, have a destiny. As it is, free will adherents place themselves in the position of trying to contradict God’s will by believing they can alter their destiny by the choices they make.

How do you ascertain what God’s will is for your life? The free will advocates will tell you that you need to ask God to show you His will and then wait for His answer. There are several problems with this approach. The two most obvious are how long should you wait and how do you know that you’ve been given an answer. The Bible gives all the information you need in order for you to know how to live your life but it doesn’t tell you what day-to-day decisions you should make. For example, it won’t tell you which career you should choose, where you should live, where you should work, or where you should go on vacation, etc.

Even so, the Bible clearly teaches that God knows the thoughts and intents of each man’s heart.1 2 3 4 Since man is able to make decisions, does it necessarily have to follow that he also has free will? And, if each person has free will, then how can it be that God is able to declare prophecies concerning specific individuals, cities, and nations hundreds of years in advance in many cases? Not only that, almost the entire book of Revelation in the Bible is full of end time prophecies. God doesn’t know the future, He creates the future.

Every person is born with God given talents and abilities. Anyone with the financial resources and high enough GPA can study at Julliard and aspire to be an opera singer but that won’t make them a Pavarotti. Likewise, anyone can take a few guitar lessons from the School of Rock and learn some chords but that won’t make them a Hendrix. The point is that people may make choices based on their wants and desires, but the outcomes are decided by their God given abilities. These abilities are given to each person in varying degrees along with unique personality traits thereby creating the diversity and apparent randomness that we observe every day in the world. Everyone making choices based on their abilities, wants and desires, yet all within the framework of God’s design.

If God has a will for everyone’s life, then He must also has a plan for everyone’s life. And if He has a plan for everyone’s life, then He also has a purpose for everyone’s life. God’s plan is for everyone to use the talents and abilities they were given in order to fulfill His ordained purpose. For some, His will is revealed early in life and for others, later in life. However, for most of us, His will is revealed progressively over time.

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Copyright 2014 Gerard Sczepura

  1. Gen. 6:5 

  2. Deut. 31:21 

  3. 1 Chron. 28:9 

  4. Dan. 11:27 

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