In a previous article on this subject, we saw that man is a tripartite being, composed of the Spirit, Soul and Body. We moved further to say that the Soul is the seat of man’s Will, Mind and Emotions.
God, our Creator has a will of His own as seen in various passages of the scriptures (Joshua 1:5; 3:7; 7:12; 8:18; Judges 2:1-3 and many others). But that’s not the focus of this article. I shall return to talk about the Will of God in a later article.
The Will Defined
Man’s will is one of the greatest gifts that God gave to man at creation, and when rightly deployed, has numerous benefits. God made man a free moral agent with the ability to choose what he wants. He lays the options before man, shows him the consequences of each, then asks him to make the right choice.
Will is the mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action. It is diligent purposefulness; determination; self-control; self-discipline. It is a deliberate intention or wish. The Will is free discretion; inclination or pleasure.
So, the Will is the ability to think what you want; to wish what you desire; make your choice; do what you want; call animals the names you desire; name the vegetation what you want; eat what you desire; sleep where you choose; wear what pleases you etc. It’s just that essence of man being a free moral agent, exercising dominion over the elements of the earth as you choose.
When parents write their Will, they decide who gets to inherit part of their earthly acquisitions. You can’t will your certificates or intellectual capabilities to anyone, but you can choose who gets your fixed assets. That is also part of your will because God has given the earth to man to replenish and subdue. So, writing a will is choosing who gets to inherit a part of the possession you garnered while alive.
Proofs Man has a Will
When God created man, He placed him in the garden of Eden to dress and keep it. A demonstration that man possesses the faculty of choice is seen immediately in Genesis 2:16-17. In that passage of the scriptures, God tells Adam that there are two groups of trees in the garden – the group that he can eat and the one that he shouldn’t eat. It was then his choice to obey God by eating all the other trees in the garden or to disobey Him by eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Several other incidents in the Holy scriptures attest to the fact that man has his own will.
In Joshua 24:15 the Bible says, “ And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In the above scripture, Joshua shows the options before the children of Israel and asks them to make a wise choice.
Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left – Genesis13:9. Here Abraham shows his nephew Lot the options before him and asks him to make a choice.
Abram in Genesis 14:23 showed that he had a will, the ability to decide on whether to accept the gifts from the king of Sodom or not. “That I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, and that I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.”
And Deuteronomy 30:15-20 says,
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
The above and many other scriptures (Genesis 18:5; 21:24; 22:2-8; 23:13; 24:3-58; 27:9-12; 41-45; Exodus 3:3 etc.) attest to the fact that man has a will, the ability to make decisions, the faculty to choose. In fact, just in the book of Psalms, we see the phrase “I will” used by man over 200 times.
Also, in several places in the Bible, we see God recognise the fact that man has his own will, which was given to Him by God (Leviticus 19:5; 22:29; Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23-24; John 1:13; 1 Cor. 7:36-37; 1 Peter 4:3; 2 Peter 1:21; Revelation 11:5-6; 22:7)
It is from this ability to choose that we get what is termed willpower, which is nothing but the power you exercise when you make decisions. That is, the power of the will – the ability to choose from various options instead of being constrained to only one choice or having just one option. You can control yourself (self-control); you can tame your desires; you can decide not to please your body; you can choose to deny yourself certain things and go for others.
So, you can choose righteousness or sin. You can choose right over wrong. The ability to do that has been given to you by the Creator. And you can choose to deploy it as you Will.
Consequences of the Will
We indeed have this powerful ability that we can deploy each time to our benefit. However, there are consequences to the decisions we make. There are advantages and/or disadvantages to the choices we make. It is my choice to slow down and stop when the yellow light signal comes up at the traffic light. But I can also choose to increase my speed to beat the red signal. Whatever decision I make would determine the consequence I’ll experience.
Because I also have the will, I can choose faith over fear. Happiness over sadness. Joy over sorrow. Love over hate. Cheerfulness over gloominess. Smiles over frowns. Peace over war. Truth over lies. Forgiveness over unforgiveness. Righteousness over sin. God over satan. I’ve made my choice, what’s yours? How are you using your will?
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Click here to read Part 3: The corrupted human will and consequences of the decisions of the will
I choose to be positive over negative…
I rather focus on the good than the bad. Feeding my mind healthy thoughts.
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