Free Will by Mayada Naami

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (I Corinthians 10:13, NIV).

It is interesting how the Bible tells us that temptation is common to mankind and that God provides us with a way out. Why is it then that we sometimes get stuck repeating certain patterns of behavior that may lead us down the “wrong” road. In the past, I have made some choices that led me down the path of pain and sometimes destruction. Looking back on those moments, I now clearly see that God did indeed provide me a way out, however, at the time, I had allowed my emotions or feelings to rule my mind. Our mind is a powerful thing, and the Bible makes many references about the innate power God has blessed us with. Whether we choose to connect to the Source, the Holy Spirit, is our choice.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want (Galatians 5: 16-17, NIV).

So, what does it mean to walk by the Spirit? For me, it means to surrender my will to His will. Before 2011 (when I was reborn in the Spirit), I never understood what that even meant. I was raised Catholic, and we never talked about rebirth. Only after I started reading the Bible, and the story of Nicodemus and Jesus’ conversation, did I finally understand that you are first born in the flesh, and then spiritually reborn when you surrender control, give up the ties to the world, and start walking with Christ. That is essentially what the first twelves disciples of Christ did. They made a choice to walk away from everything they knew and follow Him. That is what He is asking us to do today. Are you willing to surrender the ties to the world, the desires of the flesh and decide to walk by the Spirit? It is a choice that must be made daily, every time you are faced with a temptation. In Deuteronomy 30:19, it says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”

God created Adam and Eve and instructed them not to eat the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and they chose to disobey God, which caused a separation from God, the first sin. When we choose to succumb to temptation, rather than turn to God in our moment of weakness, we cause our own pain and suffering. God created us in His image which means our natural inclination is one of optimism and healthy thinking—fear is not our norm. He has empowered us with free will and a sound mind to make the right decisions. He wants us to trust Him and His perfect will for our lives. Unfortunately, the world we live in today has many temptations, but the Bible clearly tells us not to conform to the world. We are to capture our thoughts and renew our minds, which will give us the power to test for Truth and know God’s perfect will for our lives.  

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

(Romans 12:2, NIV)

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