Destined or Decisional?

The nature of free will has always been a delicate notion in Christian theology. How much free will do we have? How can we exercise free will if the Lord has already decided where we are going? This verse in particular challenges the idea of free will may may be free to make our plans. That part is free. But if the Lord determines our steps, should we even bother making plans? Interesting notion.

Take into account first that this is a proverb, which means that more often than not, it is true. It is an observation of human behavior and a Holy Spirit-inspired statement about how things work. Proverbs was not intended to give us absolutes, but generalities in order to operate in this world, that is, we are wise and will live better if we follow instead of ignore. Because of this, instead of taking this as an absolute statement, we take it as a generality. So what is the lesson we are to learn here? As far as God is concerned, all of our steps have been determined, because He already knows what we are going to do. But does God tell us what those steps are? No. In fact, we are free to make our own plans but with the hope that our plans will never take us from a place that the Lord has not already planned for or foreseen. There is a comfort in that. God has already seen the plans I have made, and has either worked to fulfill them or frustrate them. Yes, sometimes we choose to do things He doesn’t want. And sometimes it is those choices that He watches out for us so that we do not stray too far from His plan. But the fact that God does have a plan is very comforting.

Does it matter what we choose? Yes! For God’s eyes are always on us. He is always looking to see if we will follow Him or if we will follow our own lusts. For there are rewards in Heaven for those that follow Him of their own will. Though He knows our steps, He watches our heart. Of all the thing He has created, we are of the few that can operate independently of Him. We don’t have to follow Him like robots. We have a freedom to act as we choose. This makes for a dangerous world, but it is also a world where God can show both His power and His love to convince us to follow Him. All of life is this hope of God that we will follow Him, trust Him despite our senses, to believe in a God we cannot see. What a challenge God presents to Himself.

Lord, lead me into Your will. Help me today to trust You. May my life today be a blessing to Your holy kingdom. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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