Free Will, Stumbles, And God’s Open Arms
“If we only have the will to walk, then God is pleased with our stumbles.”
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.”
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:17-20 (NIV)
Free will is one of God’s many gifts to His children. He made us with His powerful love and wants our love in return, but He will never force us to reciprocate His love. If He ordered us to love Him, without the option of free choice, our love offering would not be a true and pure one.
When we choose to love God, laying our wills at His feet is part of the sacrificial offering. Love is never self-seeking, so our wills must fall to the ground. A committed believer will choose to hand over the heart God created and say, “It is Yours to do with as You will.”
In Deuteronomy 30, we learn that with free will there is life and prosperity, death and destruction. We are commanded to love and obey Him by keeping His commandments. He wants us to “choose life,” but always the gift of free will remains.
When we acknowledge that our hearts belong to the Creator, walking with Him will be our greatest desire. Just as a toddler learns to walk, we will stumble and fall. This is part of the learning process. God understands. He is pleased with your decision to walk with Him and He has no objections with you holding onto His hand to avoid stumbling.
However, when and if you stumble, you can be sure that God will accept you back with open arms. Think of the prodigal son. He finally humbled himself and went back home to his father. Surprised by the overwhelming welcome of love, that son would remain faithful and loyal to His father. Gratitude would be in his heart forever.
When we follow the path of the Prodigal Son, it will be faith and humility that brings us home to Father God. The love of the Father will keep us by His side holding on to the gift of forgiveness. We will continue to stumble, but God will smile as we pick ourselves up and choose to take the hand He offers. He does not look at our failures but rather sees our growth. He sees the positives and our attempts to grow in goodness, not the wrongs and sins the devil wants to highlight and use to condemn us.
Difficult times may be the catalyst used to propel your return to an active life with Christ. The hardships you experience could be the actual hand of God reaching down from heaven to save you.
The nail pierced hand of His Son is all you need to remember if you begin to question God’s love for you. Choose to accept His hand and let Him lead you. His grace will be sufficient to carry you on your way to glory.
You may get more skinned knees along your way, but God carries an endless supply of band-aides. Since stumbling will occur, I recommend a good pair of spiritual hiking boots.
(The armor of Christ does include, “Sandals of Peace.”)
Deuteronomy 30:15-16 (NIV) “ See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.”