I hear many people ask why God allows bad things to happen. God could control our lives, removing our freedom of choice, thus eliminating all our bumps and potholes in the road of life. However, everything would be predetermined. We would not be free to make choices because they would have already been made for us. What kind of life would that be?
What price do we pay for that freedom? One of the consequences of having freedom of choice is dealing with the uncertainties in life, which means that we will be having some really bad days and there will be little that we can do about that. God does not intervene in our decision making, and we should not blame God for death, pain, sickness, sadness, or any other problems that we may have. This is a small payment we make for our freedom.
Of course, other consequences spring from our choices… some good and some bad. When we decide to start our vacation on a stormy day rather than wait and leave the next day which has a better weather forecast, we may have an accident because of our choice. It is our duty to accept consequences from our choices and not to complain, justify, or rationalize our behavior. We make choices and then we should accept whatever happens.
By accepting Jesus as your savior, you receive God’s grace and are free from God’s law (the Ten Commandments and other religious rules), but this does not mean that you are then free to do anything you want without consequences. It means that your choices still will have consequences, but your actions will be judged by Jesus as your role model. You must attempt to be more like Jesus. There will be temptations to give in to your sinful nature, but you will make choices using your self-control and the teachings of Jesus to help you.
If you give in to sin, you will become a slave to that sin. You will lose your freedom as you are captured in sin’s snare without a way out. You no longer will have free will if you become addicted to sin and cannot stop sinning. Self gratification is the thin ice that we fall through. It is so easy to give in to the wages of sin for wealth, property, sexual gratification, and other creature comforts.
The Holy Spirit will help you avoid these traps. This is the spirit of freedom that should be more important than all the selfish dreams that you may have. Would you give up any of your freedom for a promotion at your work, giving you a higher salary, allowing you to purchase a country club membership? You may answer this question, “No.” But in real life, you might justify this action to better provide for your family. You might rationalize that if you didn’t take the job, it would go to a less deserving employee. And initially, all you might have to do in return for the better job would be to help your boss gain the trust of the other employees. Of course, the decreases in freedom slide down a slippery slope that starts slow but ends up going off a cliff.
A life of freedom makes no sense without consequences. We are being tested and there will be a Judgment Day. A life of freedom makes no sense without God. God examines our behavior and provides consequences. There are choices and consequences. We have freedom to make choices and we have freedom from slavery of sin. On the surface, we recognize the first freedom and we make choices every day. However, the second freedom requires deeper reflection. If we just give in to our needs, we will become slaves to sin. That is where God open the door for us, giving us the Holy Spirit to guide us and giving us Jesus to lead us away from sin back to the Garden of Eden. The tree of knowledge allows us to know sin. If we want back in the Garden, we must shun sin by making good choices on a daily basis.