Let me tell you guys about a situation I once found myself in.
When I was younger, there was this really cute guy in my class whom every girl had an über crush on, myself included. But there was only one problem…he was always first and I was always second every time we wrote our exams. Ugh. Well in my defense I never really put any effort into my studies, I mean, where would I have gotten the time to when there were countless butterflies to chase, daydreams to vicariously live through, friends to play tirelessly with and eat with, mischief to get up to, boys to beat up….
Sorry, I went too far.
*Factory Reset to good-girl image.
Okay, yeah, my point is that I had so many other interesting things to do rather than to sit down and read.
And I paid for it by always being unable to beat that guy despite knowing I could.
(Sadly that laissez-faire trend went on till my tertiary level of education, which continued to cost me a lot. But that’s a story for another day.)
Anyway there was just this once…I don’t know what changed; maybe it was the cold season so there weren’t as many butterflies to run after and I got a chance to scan a few reading materials, or maybe it was a fluke… I don’t know.
But I actually came in first.
Like number one.
(Crowd: We get it!
Me: Oh, yeah, sorry, just making sure.)
The plot twist was that the usual suspect went for a correction so we ended up tying, *major eye roll till eye fractures* (My God, he was like a bug that refuses to die!) but that’s besides the point.
I was still at the top.
On that glorious mountain.
My parents, being ever so proud, especially on prize-giving day, later took me to a toy store and told me to pick out whichever toys I wanted.
Fam, I probably shed some real tears. I kept thinking to myself ‘leo ni leo’.
And do you know where that left me?
Let’s switch gears for a while.
Choose /tʃuːz/ (verb)
Pick out (someone or something) as being the best or most appropriate of two or more alternatives.
Now note that a choice can only be a choice if there are two or more alternatives.
From this we can thereby derive (math spoilt this word for me) the fact that there are different outcomes to picking different alternatives, hence why one is a better/best choice than the other(s); otherwise, what you’d have is a case of just going with whichever because hey, they all lead to the same place.
(I’m not sure there’s a name for this yet.)
But if it has consequences that impact you somehow, then that introduces the idea of a choice, because you pick based on your assessment of the outcomes.
I hope I’ve not lost you by the wayside. Stay with me.
Do you know what undergirds choice?
Yes, that magic word…free will.
The Idea that you can choose between two or more options based on what YOU feel would work for you.
The catch though is that each alternative already has predetermined outcomes which we are all aware of.
For example, there are inexhaustible examples of predetermined outcomes that are standard throughout human life which we all know from knowledge passed down or from experience, such as what happens when you are disciplined in life, what happens when you are humble, what happens when you reject good etc.
The are also so many examples in the Bible and in history that embody the choice-consequence motif, such as what happens when you hang around the wrong kind of people, what happens when you seek God, what happens when you obey your parents etc.
Not to mention examples from each of our lives.
Each choice already has predetermined outcomes.
Now can we relate that to a common question?
Q. Why would God put us on this earth, claim He has given us free will to choose what life we want to live, then still punish us for our decisions if we choose what He considers to be wrong?
Because the idea of choice translates to there being two or more alternatives, and obviously, as previously discussed, each alternative has an outcome/consequence.
And whichever path we choose (based on our free will) already has predetermined outcomes/consequences;
As is with every single choice you’ll make in this life.
These three ideas are inextricably intertwined.
If it isn’t hard to understand that when you sleep in when you’re meant to a have an early morning you WILL be late, it shouldn’t be hard to understand that when you choose to not accept Christ, you WILL end up in hell, at least if you’ve heard the gospel.
It’s just as simple as that, each choice/path already has predetermined outcomes.
And for this particular choice, God set the consequence for rejecting His son as eternal death.
And if we’re willing to accept, and we know, without struggling, that there are certain outcomes/consequences for the actions/paths we choose in this life, despite our free will, why then do we struggle so much accepting and believing that there are certain outcomes/consequences for the actions/paths we choose now but that pertain to the next life?
It’s because of the human tendency to pridefully rebel against God’s rule.
Also, let me address another question:
Q. How is free will free will if God already knows what will happen?
The answer is simple.
A foreknowledge by a Sovereign being of what person x will do does not in any way influence said person when he/she is making that choice.
At any one point their free will is still maintained, God just knows what they will use their free will to choose.
See God is not in any frame, including the time-frame.
He is all at once outside time and inside time.
The best human example that I can give is like when you’re looking at a string on a table; you can see all of it at once, from the beginning to the end, and everything in between.
That is how time is like for God. He can see our timeline, as you can a string. He can see the beginning all the way to the end, and everything in between.
So just because He can see, does not mean that when you make a choice He reaches over and makes you do something. No.
It’s just He can see what you do now and what you do 20 years later all at once. (I’m not sure our finite minds can comprehend that)
And when time on this earth expires, so will the concept of time.
That is why trusting God is the best choice you can ever make. Nothing catches Him by surprise, and only He knows how best you can live your life so you live the most glorious life you ever can.
But remember, your free will means you must allow Him to lead you, and you are free to disallow Him at any time. (Major cringe)
…I’m not sure how wise that is given that life for you moves one second at a time,
May God help us to always choose Him.
Ps: In reference to my opening story, I chose about four toys before my mother realized I took the ‘to your heart’s content’ statement a little too literally and intervened for my poor father’s pockets. (Pun unintended)
Pss: Feel free to ask any more questions.
Much love. ❤️
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