The power of free will can be a positive force when a person chooses what God is leading them to do despite what it may cost them. When this happens, families can be restored. Business deals prospers. Scholarships are awarded. Bills are paid. People find Jesus. Lives get transformed. Hearts and bodies are healed. People find purpose. Most importantly, truth prevails. See in choosing God's will over your own free will requires the complete and absolute truth, because God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19) and neither will you find God embedded in a lie.
The power of free will can be a negative force also when a person chooses to ignore what God is asking them to do, because their very own free will is stronger, and they are afraid of what it will cost them. Of course, God is an understanding God, but He is not ignorant to the real truth as to why a person chooses their own free will. Their justification is often masked in fear. It's masked in delayed obedience. It's masked in worry. It's masked in pleasing other people. It's masked in past hurts and pain. It's masked in the need to control. It's masked in money. See no one wants to think of themselves as putting their hand up in God's face as to say to God STOP, but that is what they are symbolically doing when they choose their own free will over God's will for their life.
I remember visiting this particular church in New York, and the pastor was sharing how he felt that the level of success that God had blessed him with at the church was actually meant for someone else. Even though many years have passed since I visited this church, this pastor's sermon continues to intrigue me and has been a constant "dripping faucet" in the background of my thinking. This pastor went on to say that he wholeheartedly believed that he had received a full measure of what God intended for another local pastor in the same area, because that other pastor had chosen his own free will over God's will. As the pastor finished telling his story, he said he knew who the other pastor was, and he prayed for this other pastor every day even though he was humbled and thankful for all that God had blessed him with at the church. I don't know about you, but there would be great sadness in my life to know that what God originally intended for me He gave to another, because I freely chose to ignore what He was leading me to do despite what it might have cost me. Let me just say it, because I was a scared-e-cat!
FREE in the Webster dictionary is defined as, "not costing or charging anything...; having no obligations or commitments..., etc." So a question I have for you, "Is free really free?" It seems to me that free is really free depending on whether or not money is involved, or whether or not obligations or commitment are required. What I have learned personally is that free still comes at a cost!
Have you ever had a "situation" in your life where you felt that no matter how much time went by, you felt connected to a particular "situation" even though you had no proof or evidence that you should be? Well that has been me for a few years, and I would like to share my journey with you if you don't mind. A few months ago, I finally decided to seek God wholeheartedly about my "situation," I guess deep down I wanted this connection to be true. Although I can't explain it nor did I have any proof or evidence, I just felt incredibly close to this "situation". Now I don't know if other people were praying for me, and I just didn't understand that OR if I had created this stronghold in my life out of wanting it to be true so bad? How could I feel this connected to this "situation" without proof or evidence? Why was this lingering in my life? Better yet, why was I allowing this to linger in my life? All of these unanswered questions began to hit me like a ton of bricks, and I knew that I needed help. See this should have been something that came natural for me as a mature Christian, but the lesson I am reminded of is that there is ALWAYS room for growth and improvement.
In my search for the truth over my own free will, I felt strongly that the best approach for me was to fast. In case some of you may not be that familiar with fasting in the life of a Jesus follower, I would encourage you to read a few Bible scriptures to learn more, i.e., Acts 14:23, Luke 2, Matthew 4:1-17, etc. Fasting can be done in more ways than just food. For example, people can fast from using their cell phones, certain relationships or friendships, computers, certain speech, etc. However, fasting is most associated with food. The Bible is also clear that when you fast, keep quiet as it is not necessary to broadcast what you are doing while you are fasting. It is also extremely important that I point out that fasting doesn't equate to you getting God's attention. Instead, fasting is a way for you to settle your spirit down to hear what God has already been speaking to you but maybe you weren't listening, because other things and people were to loud in your life.
A few months ago, I began fasting with the expressed intent of finally determining what I needed to do for my "situation". To determine if I wanted this particular "situation" to be a part of my life so bad that I had unintentionally created a stronghold, OR if what I was sensing was the prayers of other people to remain steadfast? To be honest, it took me quite a while to settle my spirit down, because this "situation" had been a part of my life for so long that I began to feel grief due to the possibility that this "situation" may not be a part of my life anymore.
I had popped some popcorn one night and nestled on the couch to watch a movie that I had recorded on the DVR. Like always, I fell asleep before the movie was finished, but this particular night I also had a dream. I don't remember a long dream, but what I do remember is a really bright flash from a camera like they use to use in the 1920s or 1930s. I heard the sound of the camera flash and saw the flash, and after this occurred there were two words etched on a board. These two words were "Free Will." I immediately woke up to find popcorn spilled everywhere, but I knew it was important to write down the details of my dream. After cleaning up the popcorn, I was just about to turn the TV off and go to bed since it was in the wee hours of the morning. If you know anything about a DVR, once you finish a recorded program and don't give a command to either delete or save the movie, the DVR automatically goes off and the TV resumes to the last TV station that you were watching before you started the DVR. Well my TV had been on a Christian station so as I was about to turn the TV off to go to bed, a Christian televangelist came on saying she wanted to talk about free will. Yep, you heard me right, and I knew it was important that I watch her program. As she began to speak about free will, it reminded me of what I had forgotten, I felt so condemned, because I immediately knew God was using her program especially as she talked about proof and evidence. Oh man, I just sank into the couch, plunged my entire face into the palms of my hands, began to pray, and asked God's forgiveness. I then understood the dream, and I felt the Holy Spirit say within me, "They have free will."
I want to encourage you to choose God's will above your own free will. Don't be like me and forget that no matter what you are doing or even who you maybe dealing with, you CANNOT override a person's free will. People have a right to tell God NO, even if that's not what God wants for them. People can sometimes appear to be on track with God's will for their life, only to choose their own free will two weeks later. Even in rare occasions, a person's free will can be so strong in the midst of their pain that they may need professional counseling to help them address their pain. I am a firm believer that God uses different methods to help you heal so that you can get back on track. Let me interject this which is seeking professional help or counseling is not a sign of weakness.
That televangelist said many things, but what stood out to me in describing free will is how much am I doing to maintain this "situation", and how much are they doing? She said being nice has nothing to do with being In God's will. That one's position in the body of Christ has nothing to do with being in God's will. That the enemy will even use those around a person to enable a person to stay OUT of God's will. We call them enablers. She even challenged me to really think about whether or not this thing or person is helping me to become a better person, OR is this thing or person just keeping me living in a fantasyland vs. reality? She reminded me that the enemy is a time stealer, and that the enemy loves to keep me stuck, distracted, and fearful if I don't rebuke him. All I can say to you is that my approach to fasting worked. I'm not going to lie to you that after my fast was complete, I was so hurt as I grieved for a few weeks because I couldn't believe I actually thought my "situation" was exempt from free will. I felt so dumb for wasting so much of my time on this "situation." I knew that if I stayed stuck and disobedient, God could find someone else to do what He has called me to do just like the story the pastor spoke of in the church I visited in New York. I now know that this "situation" is a chapter that is officially closed in my life, and I don't intend to make this mistake again.
As I close, it is my hope that your free will becomes in harmony with God's will. When this happens, you will find your land flowing with milk and honey. You will find happiness. You will find that the amount of people who love you be multiplied. You will find truth, wisdom, discernment, and knowledge. You will find divine purpose. You will reach new levels in your faith. Lastly, you will find God's goodness, grace, and mercy. Sending you much love...