I was talking with a friend the other day about the bondage of the will, and I was struck by the fact that often times when we talk about the concept of “free will” and the lack thereof, we compromise. We both agreed that there is no such thing as the free will, and yet we also began to “back off” a little when we thought about our everyday decisions. We said things like, “Of course I can decide what shoes to wear in the morning or what to eat for breakfast, but when it comes to issues of salvation we cannot choose.”
I thought about this for a while and I realized that we were wrong. There is no compartmentalization when it comes to the bondage of the will. It is either bound or it is not. We may think we are making decisions about the mundane without anything influencing us, but it is not true. When I think about what to eat in the morning all sorts of thoughts influence or force, which is not too strong a word, my decision. I think about my weight. I think about what’s healthy for me. Or if I am in a depressed mood, I throw the health stuff out the window and eat what makes me feel good, which always makes me feel worse later on.
The same is true when I am trying to decide what to wear. All I think about then is: “What looks good? What will make me look good to world today? What will make me feel better about myself today?” There are also the days when I just wear sweats (like today) because I am so sick of trying so hard to decide what to wear. BUT the fact remains that the decision is not free. My choice is being forced by outside pressures or internal sinful pressures (it’s hard to know the difference sometimes).
My point is that the ability to make a decision does not equate freedom. Our decisions are always forced or pushed by something that we cannot control. More often than not the thing that is pushing our choices is our sin. We are slaves, and most of the time we don’t even know it. The very fact that my friend and I began to find areas where we thought we could make free choices was evidence to the sin in me trying to deflect and deny my true helpless and bound state.
SO, where is the hope? Well, it is outside of us too. The good thing is that God also forces the issue with us. He comes to us. He pushes on us where we think we are strong, where we think we are free, so that we might see our desperate situation, and in that moment all we want to do is call out to Him to save, and He always does.