There are two parts to free will. Freedom from, and freedom for. In making the choice to follow Jesus I am claiming both

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,  Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. – Romans 8, read 1-17

Derek Maul lives and writes in Wake Forest, North Carolina

This morning I’d like to pick up on the ongoing conversation around free will. As mentioned before, a couple of our men’s groups are reading C.S. Lewis together and his Mere Christianity touches on the subject in almost every chapter.

Wednesday evening’s conversation settled in on the idea that morality requires – essentially – three elements. First, an internal grounding. Second, standards that govern our relationships. Third, who we are and where we are headed as a community.

Can’t Let it Go:

Interestingly, I had launched our meeting by asking everyone to share something that’s been on their mind, something they “Can’t let go of” this week. That conversation kept circling back to self-centered behavior, the absence of a fundamental work ethic in so many people, and the cost of indolence both to them as individuals and to people who rely on them.

As our discussion progressed, evolved, meandered, coalesced, a kind of paradox emerged. If we are ungrounded in our own souls, we tend to use free will for selfish gain – even though what we think we want fails to satisfy. However, when we chose to submit both to God and to one another – in a sense ceding the freedom to “do what we like” – we are satisfied, happy, and free.

Sin is a deception that offers freedom but never delivers:

1-IMG_5506The best definition of sin is anything that separates us from God. What if – I wonder – when we pander to self we are not exercising freedom so much as yielding to sin? Rather than “doing what I like” maybe I am experiencing a kind of bondage?

If that is true, then the choice to follow Jesus and to be guided by the Spirit is actually a step into freedom. When the Spirit urges us to love and serve one another the result is satisfaction, happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. Not just that we are freed from the bondage of sin but free to embrace the nature we were designed to enjoy.

I believe we were (we are) designed by God for the purpose of experiencing selfless community. When our choices lead away from love and service maybe it is not so much free will as it is domination and exploitation from a malignant source?

Two parts to free will:

So there are two parts to free will. Freedom from, and freedom for. In making the choice to follow Jesus I am claiming both.

So there are two parts to free will. Freedom from, and freedom for. In making the choice to follow Jesus I am claiming both.


commentary culture God kingdom of God life relationships

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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