God is Sovereign and Our Choices Matter
It’s not one or the other: God is in control and our decisions still make a big difference
It’s Not One or the Other: It’s Both
One of the biggest issues we face in living our purposes is also one of the biggest theological debates in church history. It has to do with God being sovereign and human’s ability to choose.
Smart people who love Jesus and study Scripture come down on different sides of this debate. Both sides would say that God is Almighty and that our choices matter. In most cases the debate is more a matter of degree than right or wrong.
But that is exactly the point I want to make: God is sovereign, and our choices really do matter. They are both important.
The dictionary defines “sovereign” as possessing supreme or ultimate power. Synonyms are supreme, absolute, unlimited, unrestricted, unbounded, boundless, infinite, ultimate, total, unconditional, full, utter paramount. God is sovereign.
God has also given us the ability to make choices. He will honor those choices, and the decisions we make will affect our lives. Our decisions matter.
The reason for this debate is because both truths are found in Scripture, and if taken to an extreme, both beliefs become harmful.
If you go too far in the “God is sovereign” direction, it leads to passivity and the acceptance of everything as God’s will. If you move too far in the “my choices” direction, it leads to constant pressure to doing everything right and eventual exhaustion.
God is Sovereign
The Bible teaches that God planned the death and resurrection of Jesus before He created the earth. That means God knew ahead of time that mankind would sin and that to fulfill His life-giving purposes Jesus would need to come, die, and be raised from the dead.
God knew all that ahead of time and set in place a well thought out and implemented plan to fulfill it. The birth of Jesus alone took a lot of intricate planning, and God foretold it through His prophets hundreds of years before it happened.
The town in which the Messiah would be born was made known and recorded through prophetic messages and known by all Jewish scholars of the day. But for Jesus to be born there required that the Caesar in Rome order a census requiring everyone to go to their hometown to register.
This just “happened” to occur when Jesus’ mother Mary was ready to give birth. This is but one example of many that shows God’s sovereignty. God spoke what would happen centuries centuries beforehand and then moved many circumstances around to make sure what He declared would happen. Such examples are found over and over again throughout the Bible.
Freedom to Make Choices Matters
Yet, also from the very beginning, God gave man the ability to choose. God placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil right in the middle of the Garden of Eden.
He told Adam and Eve they could eat from any tree in the Garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We know that the devil deceived them and they believed his words instead of God, choosing to follow the devil’s words over God’s.
Why did God put that tree there in the first place? Without that tree and the command not to eat from it, we may have never had all the pain and suffering sin causes.
At least part of the answer as to why God gave Adam and Eve that choice and why he allowed the serpent to be there has to do with the nature of love in God’s purposes. God created us to love Him and decide to follow Him by our own choice.
Many have rightly said that God did not design us to be robots, but instead beings which choose to receive Him and love Him. Love can’t be forced, and God’s number-one virtue is love.
The ability to make choices, to have the freedom to choose, is of such value to God that it was worth it to Him to give us this ability. He knew it would cost Him dearly and that it would result in both amazing positives and horrible negatives. But freedom is so important to Him that He wisely decided it was worth it.
There are also many more examples that clearly show God has given us the privilege of making choices and that our choices matter.
My Bottom Line
I’m touching on this topic because it is important in living God’s purposes. There is so much involved in discussing it, but I’m just briefly writing on its importance. There are plenty (and I mean plenty) of books on both sides of this issue that you can read.
The main thing regarding living your God-given purposes is to know:
- An Almighty God has purposes and plans for the world and you…and He is fully committed to fulfilling them.
- Not everything that happens is God’s will. There is an enemy who comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10),
- Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and give us abundant, eternal life.
- Your choices really do matter. God will give you grace, He will help you, and He will invite you…
- He will not make you believe or follow His instruction.
Stand Strong in both of those truths at the same time.
If you want more resources on living a Jesus-centered, Jesus-empowered life take a look at www.TruVineMission.com
If you want training and coaching on getting crystal clear on your God-given purpose and then making the changes necessary to accomplish it head over to www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com