Updated: May 11, 2020
It strikes me that so many Christians want to lobby for the “free will of man” vs. the sovereignty of God — especially on behalf of unbelievers having a choice, as if salvation is primarily up to them or initiated by them. This flagrantly rails against the clear teaching of Scripture in so many places. True, the ignorant, proud unbeliever, lacking exposure to biblical teaching might think they “made a decision” of their own “free will” — from their perspective. And, yes, they have a responsibility to respond to the call of God on their newly awakened spiritual conscience or “heart”. Later though, we would hope that they understand Eph 2:8-9, that even their saving faith is a gift of God, not based on ANY thing they did or initiated.
It seems to be an even greater enigma, then, that a believer would think that they should have perfect “freedom of will” to chart the course of their life and service as a Christian. That’s not what Christ did. He aspired to slavery! Multiple times He is recorded as saying that He did nothing of His own initiative but only did the will of His Father. When you volunteer to become a slave, submitting entirely to the will of your Master, you give up all rights of self-determination — on a daily basis! “If God [in the person and work of Jesus Christ] submitted His great majesty to the call of servanthood, we can submit our … talents, … desires, … skills to the call of servanthood as well. … One great measure of our humility is whether we can be ambitious for someone else’s agenda. … Our willingness to make others a success is a great measure of the purity of our ambitions.” [Dave Harvey in Rescuing Ambition, pp. 105-106]