What Free Will Means in Spirituality

So many writers and faith bloggers have written about free will and how we are human beings are spiritual beings having a human existence. Which is true. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. As human beings, we have been given the freedom to choose between good and bad, between choices, and the freedom to create new choices when we don’t like the choices presented to us.


According to Wikipedia, Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded. Free will is closely linked to the concepts of moral responsibility, praise, guilt, sin, and other judgements which apply only to actions that are freely chosen.


When it comes to free will in Spiritually, it’s often touted to us that God has given us free will to choose between him and other gods. To choose between good and bad and listen to our conscience.


However, Do We Have Free Will?

I believe that as human beings, we do have free will. Moreover, as spiritual beings having a human existence, we have options to choose between obeying the Spirit man or the human being. That’s why being spiritual can be so hard on us. We do, in the physical, what we wouldn’t want to do in the spiritual.


The spirit man wars against the human soul and it becomes so tough to then follow what the Spirit man, and ultimately God, wants. It becomes tough to go higher. We must understand that God, or the higher power we believe in is always calling us for a higher purpose. However, we can choose to go for a higher purpose or not to. 


There are actions that don’t need much thought about, as your conscience convicts you whether an action is right or wrong. Actions such as stealing, bullying etc. You can choose to steal or not to steal and if neither of these choices appeals to you, there is the option of borrowing. I do believe that the more we indulge in the wrong choices, the more our conscience’s ability to convict us of wrongdoing dies.

This raises the question of free will and morality, and what is acceptable to be morally right. The idea of free will and failing to choose the right choices or the choices that align with your spiritual life is not new.


Apostle Paul says that what he wants to do he doesn’t do, but does what he doesn’t want to do. Even Paul, the most obedient and radicle Jesus follower was at a point, struggling with the notion of free will and what it means to our spiritual life.


I’m sure you’ve had the same experience in your spiritual life. Even the most spiritually disciplined will admit that it’s a battle to constantly go up higher spiritually. For example, as a new Christian, it’s very easy to adhere to the Principles of Christ. You’re fascinated, constantly in awe and you can’t wait to go up higher. In this scenario, the question of free will is absent, as your first choice, being a Christian, is so important and your fascination with Christ doesn’t allow you to think or choose otherwise.


However, as you progress through the journey of sanctification, you might experience difficulties in sticking to the mere principles and think about free will. The fascination ceases when you’re given the hard stuff when it becomes evident that answering Jesus call meant taking up your cross and death to the flesh.


It’s in this situations that we as Christians deliberate on moving the boundaries and trying to see how far we can go, and if free will is really, free. We’ve come to an intersection and we have to choose. It’s not surprising that Jesus said, ‘If you continue in my word, then are you, my disciples, indeed. John 8-31.


Free will in Spirituality is having the freedom to do something but choosing not to do it. Apostle Paul says in 1st Corinthians 6; “Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be mastered by anything.’


Free Will And Human Behaviour

Although I’m not a scientist or a medical doctor, it’s a known fact that our choices inform our behaviours and our habits, and whether we have great habits is dependent on the choices we consistently make.


When we make a choice over and over again, we reinforce these patterns in our brains through neurons, neural-transmitters and neural-pathways such that they become our go-to choices and behaviours.


This is why I mentioned that if you consistently make the wrong choices it will be harder to change them later on. Not only do you make bad habits, but you slowly kill your conscience’s ability to convict you.


I believe a person’s conscience is very important.


Much has been said about the ultimate faith or religion with every religion professing theirs to be the best. This is neither here nor there. It’s also not the purpose of this article. However, I’d like to bring to your attention to this verse by Paul:


For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

Romans 2:14


What do you think about free will and spirituality? Are they mutually exclusive or is there a connection? What does free will impact your faith? Let me know in the comments below.


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