Some Things Are De­cided For Us; Oth­ers Are Our Own Choices

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - CHURCH - Ron Wood Colum­nist RON WOOD IS A WRITER AND MIN­IS­TER. CON­TACT HIM AT WOOD.STONE.RON@GMAIL.COM OR VISIT WWW. TOUCHED­BY­GRACE.ORG. THE OPIN­IONS EX­PRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AU­THOR.

“Que sera, sera, what­ever will be, will be.” “There is no fate ex­cept what we make.” Which movie line is true? What role does free will play?

Fa­tal­ism is an as­sump­tion that leads peo­ple to “give in to the in­evitable.” It is a be­lief that you and I have no say so, no choice that we’re swept along pow­er­less to af­fect our fu­ture. We’re vic­tims of DNA, of chance, of some dis­tant de­ity’s ar­bi­trary will. Re­ally?

Let’s think about this. Yes, some things were de­cided for us. There are things in my life over which I had no con­trol. I was born an Amer­i­can. I was born in the 20th cen­tury. I didn’t choose my par­ents, nor did they choose me. They had three kids when, after a fif­teen-year gap, sur­prise — twins — one of whom was me. I didn’t choose to be a male. I didn’t choose to be white. I didn’t choose to be south­ern. But by the grace of God, I’m all those things.

Against my will, I’ve grown bald. I com­plain about it, but it does no good. I didn’t choose to be near­sighted. I didn’t choose to have a high IQ but God made me smart. Th­ese are things that were de­cided for me be­fore I was born.

What can I change? What choices can af­fect my life go­ing for­ward? Do I drift on the whims of chance, the push and pull of cul­ture, the ebb and flow of cir­cum­stances? Or do I have the power of pur­pose? What can I do to se­lect my path? What be­liefs will frame bet­ter choices? Some choices are more im­por­tant than oth­ers, like turn­ing to God, or get­ting mar­ried.

I courted and mar­ried my lovely Lana. I se­lected her — the per­fect spouse for me. Thank God, she chose me back. We im­pacted our lives for good by prayer­fully mak­ing the right choice.

We all have a mea­sure of power. Within life’s bound­aries, within our sphere, we hold the abil­ity to de­cide. Amaz­ingly, God re­spects our will. That’s an awe­some re­al­iza­tion. God hon­ors my de­ci­sions as a hu­man be­ing.

It was proph­e­sied of Je­sus that he would die on a cross. Did that make it cer­tain? No, for he chose to go there. He went will­ingly, like a lamb. God’s will and his free will in­ter­sected. We can re­sist God or yield.

If I want to overeat and be lazy like a sloth, I have that right. If I want to feed my mind on end­less non­sense, I can do it. If I want to be­lieve the drivel that comes from ac­cusers whose goal is dis­cord and civil un­rest, then I’m the one choos­ing de­cep­tion. It mat­ters who you agree with or what you be­lieve. If I wanted to re­ject God’s love dis­played in Je­sus on the cross, I have that right. Free will is as­ton­ish­ing!

It em­pow­ers me that I know the Bi­ble. It gives me a grid or frame­work within which I can make in­formed choices. I have my part. God has his part. He is a covenant-keep­ing God who wants hu­man­ity de­liv­ered from fear and Satan’s snares. He wants us to en­joy life. He gave us free­dom to choose eter­nal life.

Be­ing in­formed by his will, I’ve learned about our cor­po­rate power in Christ to af­fect the fu­ture by pray­ing in faith. Am I wor­ried about heaven? No. For me as a be­liever, there’s nowhere else to go. That choice was made for me al­ready by the Son of God. Chang­ing this world now is my con­cern.

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