Josh 24:15; Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:5, 11
In the middle of the Garden of Eden, God placed two trees. Most are aware that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was there (aka: the forbidden tree), but many don’t realize that another very important tree was placed there as well… the tree of life. Genesis 2:9 says “…the tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
It seems that God, from the very beginning, gave man a special gift… free will. So that free will could be exercised, God gave a choice. Adam and Eve could eat from any tree in the garden, including the tree of life and continue to enjoy life and fellowship with God OR they could turn their backs on God and choose according to what seemed best to them. One choice produced life, the other death. The choice was made, man was distanced from God because of sin, and the world has never been the same since.
Why would God allow man to make a choice? Why not give man no alternative but to do His will? Because for love to exist there has to be a choice involved. If I made a robot that said “I love you Troy,” it wouldn’t really bless me because I would know that it’s just doing what it was programmed to do; In fact, it would just be doing what I programmed it to do. The reason God gave free will (and a choice) is so that when we chose to respond to Him with obedience and worship (or love), it would be a genuine response of the creation to the creator. When asked what the greatest command was, Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37). Jesus would define love, not as a feeling, but by obeying His commands – 1 John 5:3 says “for this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
Do you love God? Do you really love God? If you do, then it will be important for you to learn what pleases God and do those things. When no one else can see what you are doing, God can… do you love Him? When your flesh desires to get revenge, but God says leave vengeance to Him… do you love Him? When you feel like isolating yourself, but God wants you around His people, worshiping Him… do you love Him? In each of these cases, we find there are two trees we can eat from… the tree of the knowledge of good and evil OR the tree of life. God gives you a choice. The importance of free will, is that it gives us the opportunity to choose to love God. What you do with your freedom says a lot about what (or who) has your heart. That’s the importance of free will. So what are you going to do with yours?