Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Have you ever wondered how God works with man’s free will choices and still remains in control of everything? Meaning, if God knows our end from the beginning how does He actually allow us to make our own decisions and not make us His fatalistic robots? Because if God ultimately already knows what were going to do, doesn’t that remove our ability to act freely?
Many great theologians have spent their entire scholarly lives trying to understand the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. God’s sovereignty means, “God can do whatever pleases Him whenever it pleases Him,” Psalm 115:3. For example, by God’s sovereignty He chose Jacob over Esau, Israel over Egypt, and the Jews over Gentiles, Romans 9-11. However, by our free will we decide whether to be under God’s curses or blessings (Deut. 28), have life or death (Deut. 30:19), and whether we accept of reject Jesus’ salvation, James 4:8. Free will means, “to be able to choice ‘a’ or not ‘a’ without any outside influence,” Joshua 24:15.
I believe King Solomon in the above proverb gives the simple solution to understanding the supposed problem between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. Simply, “Man freely chooses his plans in his heart and God freely chooses what purpose He will accomplish with man and the choices he makes.” Meaning, “man is free to make his own choices, but God determines the consequences- whether they be bad or good.”
For example, you may be freely making plans to move to a new house on Grey Street, however, for God’s purpose to come to pass He may close the door and make available another house on Brown Street. Thus, your plans were changed by God’s sovereignty to fulfill his bigger purpose and plan, but yet it was still in line with your freedom to choose.
Therefore, we as Christians shouldn’t say, “Well, there is no sense in trying to do anything, because whatever God wants to come to pass will happen- I’ll just sit here and wait.” And we also shouldn’t say, “God is not involved in my everyday decisions- I make my own fate and destiny.” However, the Christian should say what James wrote in James 4:15, “…If it is the Lords will, we will live and do this or that.”
The Christian can be confident that God has given them freedom of choice- we are not His robots. At the same, we should always be submitted to God’s bigger plans and purposes in our lives. Just because God knows everything that will happen and is working it out for His glory doesn’t mean He didn’t give mankind the ability to make their own choices. Therefore, we should make the right choices when it is in our power to act and trust God when it is in His power to act.
- What plans are you making in this season of your life?
- Are you willing to let God’s will be done?
- Whenever your plans change, trust that God is in control working all things for His good and yours.