Free Will and Personal Choice
Part 2
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
April 22, 1997

Last Updated :
July 8, 2018

Godly Peace And Fighting Against Satanic Fear, Good Or Bad Consequences Will Result From Our Choices And Actions, The Bible Is Our Driver's Manual Through Life, The Difficulty Of Making The Right Choice, Martha Mary And The Lord, God Grants King Solomon Wisdom Riches And Honor, Ask God For Wisdom And Guidance To Make The Right Choices, This Life Is A School, Simplicity Of The Gospel, Don't Become Puffed Up With Knowledge, Please God Through Your Childlike Faith, Seek God's Will In Your Life, Jesus Came To Save Imperfect Sinners, We Learn And Grow Through Our Sins Mistakes And Shortcomings, It Is Wise To Obey God's Laws, A Messed Up World Resulting From Our Poor Choices, Earthly Devilish Wisdom, The Royal Law: Thou Shalt Love, Blatant Rebellion Against God's Laws, Don't Blame God For The Consequences Of Our Own Poor Choices, We Humans Are Incapable Of Ruling Ourselves, Ancient Israel Chose An Earthly King Over God, Incomplete And Imperfect Without God's Love, Men Shall Be Lovers Of Their Own Selves, Selfish Choices Which May Hurt Others, Build Upon The Right Foundation Or We Are Doomed, Selfish Modern-Day Political Systems, God's Forgiveness Mercy Love And Compassion, Consequences Of Our Actions, We Must All Appear Before The Judgment Seat Of Christ, Trust And Acknowledge The Lord, All For The Glory Of God, Most Important Decision: Accepting Christ, Suggested Reading List

As we discussed in part one, our relationship with our Father in Heaven should be marked by a combination of godly fear and reverence -- or respect -- faith, trust and love. We should not be cowering in fear all of the time, as if the Lord might clobber us at some unexpected moment. At the same time, it should also be noted that there is such a thing as satanic fear. This obviously does not come from the Lord. It comes from the Devil himself, or at least from his demons. If you find yourself being overcome by this kind of fear, then you need to immediately pray, quote Scriptures if you know any, and resist the enemy with all of your might. You need to claim God's peace in your life. Consider the following group of verses:

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7, KJV

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Isaiah 41:10, KJV

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
1 John 4:18, KJV

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27, KJV

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Isaiah 26:3, KJV

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:7, KJV

"Neither give place to the devil."
Ephesians 4:27, KJV

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7, KJV

This topic of faith, fear and love is discussed more fully in my series entitled "Dracula, Nosferatu, Twilight: The Vampire Fad".

Whether we are talking about obedience to God, or a child's obedience to his or her parents, it all revolves around the matter of free will and personal choice. Now, if we choose poorly, then obviously, trouble will come our way at some point. God will not be pleased with us, and neither will a child's parents. Furthermore, there may be consequences to pay for our actions as well, if the infraction was serious enough.

If you view the Bible as being a sort of Driver's Manual to assist us in this life, then you will have a good idea of what I am trying to get across. Being the loving Father that He is, in the Bible, God has provided us with everything we need to know in order to make it through this life safely, and on to the next life. Of course, if we are foolish enough to go out driving somewhere without having properly passed a driving test, and without a driver's license; if we haven't even taken the time to carefully read the Driver's Manual, well then, of course we are asking for trouble. In fact, we might even end up in an accident. Not only will we receive a ticket because of our foolishness and our failure to obey the law, but we might even end up getting hurt. Worse yet, God forbid, we might hurt someone else! You would think that this would be enough to wake up anyone. Sadly, this is not the case. As a Christian, we must remember that God's still small voice is always there telling us the following, if we will only listen carefully:

". . . This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."
Isaiah 30:21, KJV

As many of us can testify, sometimes it can be difficult for Christians to know which is the right choice to make. There are times that we choose what we think is right, or what we believe at the time is God's highest will for our lives, but in the Lord's eyes it really isn't the best option. Such was the case in the story of Martha and Mary, the two sisters of Lazarus of Bethany. Mary had made the right choice by sitting at Jesus' feet to listen to Him, while Martha did what she thought was best in her own eyes, which was only second best in God's eyes, as we see by the following verses taken from the Gospel of Luke:

"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:38-42, KJV

We can find comfort in the fact that if we are having a hard time making the right choices in our lives, God is more than willing to help us out. In the Old Testament, after King Solomon had ascended to the throne of his father, David, he felt quite incapable of leading the Children of Israel. One night the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and this is what happened:

"In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants."
1 Kings 3:5-15, KJV

Just as King Solomon asked the Lord for understanding in his day, we can likewise ask the Lord for His Divine Wisdom and Guidance to help us make the right choices in our daily walk with Him. In the Epistle of James we find the following verse:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
James 1:5, KJV

Notice what James is saying there. God will liberally, or freely, give us the wisdom and understanding that we need. He is not going to upbraid us for asking for it. In other words, He is not going to rebuke us or get mad at us for asking. Quite to the contrary. Consider what Jesus and the Apostles tell us in the following set of verses:

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
Matthew 7:7-8, KJV

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
Romans 8:32, KJV

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19, KJV

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
1 John 5:14-15, KJV

In his discussion regarding the various gifts and ministries of the Spirit, the Apostle Paul likewise mentions the gifts of Wisdom and Knowledge, as we see by the following verse:

"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;"
1 Corinthians 12:8, KJV

Certainly, God is not going to deny giving us His Wisdom and Guidance if we humbly ask for it. We also need to remember that this life is really meant to serve as a kind of school for us. If we were mindless robots which obediently did everything right, we wouldn't learn anything, would we? Our spiritual growth would be stunted, and we wouldn't make any progress in the things that the Lord is trying to teach us. At the same time, while we are to grow in Spirit and Truth, neither must we ever forget the simplicity of the Gospel of Salvation. We must remain in touch with the roots of our faith. Additionally, we must not become so bogged down in knowledge, that we lose our simple childlike faith. Consider the following group of Scriptures:

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 19:14, KJV

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV

"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth."
1 Corinthians 8:1, KJV

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
1 Corinthians 13:2, KJV

"And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
1 Corinthians 8:2, KJV

Here again, we see the interrelationship between faith and love, or charity. Without these, our knowledge means very little. I have written several articles regarding this topic including "The Only Credentials You Need", "The Wisdom of God vs. the Philosophy of Men", and a few others which you will find listed at the end of this same article. Contrary to modern man who takes great pride in his knowledge and scientific achievements, the Apostle Paul tells us in his Epistle to the Hebrews, that it is our childlike faith which pleases God most of all. Even though our mind and the world around us might be telling us otherwise, we must have the faith to believe, simply because God says so. Consider this verse:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Hebrews 11:6, KJV

If we have faith in our Creator, and if we diligently seek Him and His Will when making our decisions, hopefully, we will encounter few obstacles of our own design. Of course, this does not mean that we won't ever have problems in our lives. It simply means that if they do come along, hopefully they will be because of some outside cause, and not because of sin in our own lives. Another thing to bear in mind is the fact that if we didn't have the freedom to make our own choices, and if we automatically did everything right, then we wouldn't even have a need for a Savior, would we? After all, we would be perfect, and Jesus certainly did not come to save the "perfect", as we see by the following two verses:

"When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Mark 2:17, KJV

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
Romans 5:6, KJV

It is in fact through our sins, mistakes and shortcomings, that we will hopefully learn and grow into the wise, mature Christians the Lord desires for us to be. If there is one major lesson which the Lord is trying to teach all of us, it is that without an acceptance of His rules in our lives, we will not only end up messing up our own lives, but we will negatively affect the lives of others as well. So it is wise to obey God's Laws. In short, we are supposed to be learning obedience to God's Laws through the things which we suffer, which are sometimes a result of our own poor choices in this life. Surprising as it may seem, in his letter to the Hebrew brethren, the Apostle Paul tells us that even Jesus learned obedience through the things which He suffered, as we see by this verse:

"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;"
Hebrews 5:8, KJV

If we stop to consider the exponential effect of worldwide disobedience to the Laws of God, it is easy to understand why the world today is in such sad shape. It also explains why the world will only continue to worsen as man continues to stubbornly depend upon his own wisdom and strength in his decision-making process, instead of looking to God for the answers. Unless we acknowledge God and His Word in our major choices, sad to say, we are indeed doomed. What some people don't realize is that as far as God is concerned, there are only two kinds of wisdom: the one which descends from above, and the other one which is of the Earth and devilish; as we see by the following set of verses:

"This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
James 3:15-17, KJV

The truth of the matter is that the Laws of God really aren't as complicated as one might be led to believe. Yes, while it is true that there are over six hundred of them in the pages of the Old Testament, the fact is that in the Gospels, Jesus neatly summed them up for us in the following two verses:

". . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:37-40, KJV

It is really just that simple: THOU SHALT LOVE! But you see, modern, rebellious man has in large part rejected the Wisdom and Laws of God which have come down from above. Similar to the Scribes and the Pharisees of old, they have embraced the wisdom of Satan instead. That is, the wisdom of the god of this world, the wisdom of the Earth. It is for these reasons that humankind has made so many wrong decisions which have resulted in the chaotic, unbalanced world we live in today, As I mentioned earlier, it is clearly getting worse with each passing year. The outright, blatant rebellion against God's Laws which we see in the world today is nothing short of mind-boggling. I am reminded of the following two verses which certainly describe our current times:

"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."
Psalms 10:4, KJV

"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13, KJV

Contrary to what some God-hating people like to claim, it isn't God's fault that the world is the way it is today. He isn't the one who is causing the wars, or the violence and hatred, or the famines, or the economic embargoes, or the withholding of relief from those who need it, or any of the other evils we see in the world today. These are sinful, selfish man's doings; so we have absolutely no right to blame God for the things which have resulted from our own poor choices. In fact, that is precisely the point here. While God had foreknowledge that all of these things would happen, I believe that the reason why He didn't stop any of them from occurring, is because He's trying to teach us all something very important. Exactly what is that? It is that we can't do it on our own. We need the Lord's help. We are incapable of ruling ourselves in a fair and just manner.

This is the very same lesson He was trying to teach ancient Israel when they chose to have an earthly king rule over them -- that is, King Saul -- instead of the Lord Himself. The Israelites complained that they wanted to be just like all of the other heathen nations around them, and so God granted them their request. Their decision to reject the Lord, and to be ruled by a human king, resulted in problem after problem for centuries to come after that. I discuss this topic more fully in other articles such as "The Children of God and Politics" and "The Fruits of Disobedience".

Returning to our previous topic, without God's supernatural love burning in our hearts -- which results from spiritual rebirth through faith in Jesus Christ -- we are incomplete beings. Not only are we incomplete, but we are imperfect; which is what the word "perfect" means in some places in the New Testament. We are not complete. We are lacking the main ingredient: love. That is, love for God, and love for our fellow man. After all, the Scriptures inform us that God is love. Instead, and sadly, true, unselfish love is one thing which Jesus and the Apostle Paul specifically said would be lacking in the world, as we see by these verses:

"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
Matthew 24:12, KJV

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For MEN SHALL BE LOVERS OF THEIR OWN SELVES, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
2 Timothy 3:1-5, KJV

Because we become lovers of our own selves, and such extreme narcissists, instead of lovers of God and our fellow man, the end result is that we make choices which are only of benefit to ourselves. Our choices may in fact hurt other people, as I mentioned earlier concerning the example of driving without a driver's license. If you are interested in reading more about this subject, please refer to the article "Selfishness: A Prophesied Sign of the Endtime".

One thing is certain. Unless we have the right foundation in our lives -- faith in God and His Word, and His love in our hearts -- we are building our houses upon the shifting sand. This is something which Jesus specifically warned us against doing in the Gospels. It is for this tragic reason that the modern-day systems of man will all eventually fail. After all, they are not built on God's Word, and they definitely are not ruled by His love. They are in fact selfish systems which primarily benefit the powerful, the rich and the elite, while the poor of the world barely get by.

But concerning our personal situations, allow me to point out that it is through our personal choices, our sins, and the mistakes that we make, that we truly come to understand the forgiveness, mercy, love and compassion of God. As the Scriptures inform us over and over again, while at times He may be forced to afflict us, God's love and mercy remain boundless, as we see by the following example verses:

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness . . . For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
Lamentations 3:22-23, 31-33, KJV

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39, KJV

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV

So as you can see, God's love and mercy are indeed truly great. However, as we have already seen, our decision to believe in Him, and to obey Him, has to be by our own free will and personal choice. During this current period of Grace, He won't force Himself upon anyone. Yet at the same time, as I mentioned earlier, should we refuse to accept what the Lord offers us, we need to be conscious of the consequences of our actions, and realize that some day we are all going to have to face our Maker. This fact becomes evident by verses such as the following:

"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
Matthew 12:36, KJV

"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Romans 14:12, KJV

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Corinthians 5:10, KJV

"Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead."
1 Peter 4:5, KJV

Realizing then, that someday we will all be held accountable for our words, actions and choices, how much more should we be willing to acknowledge the Lord in our lives, and seek His answers in our decision-making process? Just think of how much trouble and pain it will help us to avoid. As I shared with you earlier, the Book of Proverbs offers us the following wise counsel:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV

In conclusion, as the Apostle Paul writes in his Epistle to the brethren at Corinth, let's all try to make the right choices in our lives, so that God is glorified in the end:

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31, KJV

Please don't forget that the most important choice you will ever have to make, is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you have not done so yet, I hope that you will do it today. Your time may be much shorter than you realize!

With these thoughts, I will bring this article to a close. I pray that it has provided you with some valuable counsel, and that it has been a blessing and an inspiration in your life. If you have enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, or with any other social network, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!

For additional information and further study, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which are related to the topics which were discussed in this article. All of them are also located on the Bill's Bible Basics web server:

Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?
Dracula, Nosferatu, Twilight: The Vampire Fad
Humility in Our Understanding of God's Word
Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?
Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen
Selfishness: A Prophesied Sign of the Endtime!
So You Really Think You Are So Humble?
The Blood Atonement: In Jesus' Own Words
The Children of God and Politics
The Faith of a Little Child
The Fruits of Disobedience
The Only Credentials You Need
The Public School System and School Prayer
The Royal Law: Thou Shalt Love
The Wisdom of God vs the Philosophy of Men
What About the Poor?
What is God's Will for My Life?
When Sin is No Longer a Sin
Who is Building Your House?

BBB Tools And Services

Please avail yourself of other areas of the Bill's Bible Basics website. There are many treasures for you to discover.