Faith And Free Will: Choosing God

I am a sinner. This is a fact for all of us. Yet, despite this knowledge, we know that we are loved by God. We know this because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In his death on the cross we have been freed from sin and death. But that is only one side of the story. The other side is that we must choose to accept his love and forgiveness. When we have fallen, we must choose to repent and turn back to God.

You see, it is all about faith and free will. Faith is a kind of knowing. We know, in faith, that Jesus gave his all for us to save us from the pit of sin and death. We know what he asks of us; to turn away from sin and to willingly begin to live our lives in accord with his commandments more regularly. We also know that we often willfully turn away from this knowledge, out of pride or ignorance, and choose, foolishly, to turn away from God to pursue our own selfish desires for immediate gratification.

Our consciences warn us of our foolishness before we act, but we often do not heed our consciences. After we have sinned, our consciences burn with guilt or shame. The conscience is where our knowledge of good and evil resides. It is formed by our growing knowledge of God and his commandments. It is our duty, then, as Christians, to continue to form our consciences by reading, studying, and meditating on God’s word in the Scriptures. We can educate ourselves by reading good books written by those who know the word of God. We need to pray regularly, and to go to our brothers and sisters in Christ for their support when we are troubled or tempted. We should be there for others in their times of need too.

The fact is that sin is a burden, it weighs us down emotionally, psychologically, and physically. It destroys our spiritual, mental and physical health and well being. It is foolish to bring these burdens on ourselves, but we do. Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) When we realize the weight of our sins, if we turn to God and repent of them, he will wipe them away in a flash, he will lift their terrible burden from our souls and we will come to know the refreshment of the Lord.

Lord, help us to find the strength to turn back to you when we have sinned. Give us an ever deepening knowledge of what is good and what is evil, and the courage to choose more wisely. We ask this in your name, Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.
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