The truth is that free will was not given to our ego or to our human personality; it was given to the Child of God that we are. Our will is a child’s version of our Father’s Will meant to grow “freely” – meaning through love, not mechanically - into oneness with His Will. Most people probably believe that free will, like freedom, means doing whatever we want whenever we want. But when “we” behave in this way, we are pleasing our lower “self”, not God within us. So “who” is it that is getting what it wants? It is the “self” of selfishness, self-centeredness and self-indulgence, which does not lead us to a higher place. What leads us to a higher place is giving: serving, sacrificing, and surrendering to a Higher Will. We cannot go up higher if we cater to the lower. What does it mean to “go up higher”? It means we leave the constraints of mortality, limitation, sin, negativity, and suffering behind and become more of God. Does this sound like freedom?
Maybe freedom first of all, is being able to know who we are in the face of all that would scream the lie of denial about who we are. As long as any part of us believes that lie, we are not free. In this way, limiting circumstances can be a way to set us free, by giving us an opportunity to process through the lie about who we are and realize the truth. But if we see outwardly limiting circumstances as restricting, then we are not using them as God intends us to use them. We are putting the physical in the wrong place as first cause. Only when we can be in the midst of darkness and not succumb to the lie, are we truly free. We are free when we are “locked up” in God – when our sense of identity is secured in God, when nothing that happens outside ourselves can shake our knowing of who we are - can make us doubt who we are in God.
When we can face the darkness and not be pulled down by it, then we see that the physical experience has been put in its appropriate role in second place, as opposed to “first cause”. First cause is our spiritual identity; if we have no sense of spiritual identity or we think that it is subservient to outer physical circumstances, then we will seem be controlled and limited by our physical circumstances, and for all intents and purposes, we will be, for life is as we perceive it to be, until we realize that how things look or seem is not always how they are in God’s reality, and that God’s reality, just as His Will, reigns supreme.
Was Jesus a poor beggar who deserved nothing more than to be born in a stable? Or was his birth in these humble circumstances to show that it is not our physical surroundings that matter; it is the light within our hearts that matters. If Jesus were to have been born in opulent surroundings, then most likely many people would have misunderstood that to mean that our inner light can only shine if our physical surroundings “shine” first”, thereby “putting the horse before the cart” or “worshipping a golden calf”.
“Seek you the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Luke 12:31)
Isn’t true freedom knowing that God’s Will is our own? In order to know this, we have to know that we – the “you” that we really are – is not apart from God. So that those who espouse that “free will” means doing whatever “you” want, whenever “you” want, for as long as “you” want, are really those who do not trust God’s Will, do not know that it is their own higher will and do not want to surrender the sense of self (the “you”)that is separate from God.
Is this not selfishness, this putting the “self” first? Can we be free if we are being selfish? God is not selfish; God is love and love seeks always to give, to serve, to uplift others; God is about expansion, growth: more. This is what God is. So that when we are being selfish, we are not being God; we are really tied to - or “locked up” in – a smaller sense of self, being less and tied to less. This is not freedom.
True freedom comes when we are focused in giving, for what are we giving from? We are giving from an expanded sense of Self that is limitless, and we are giving from love, which, as Paul said, is the “greatest” of all. We can never call selfishness “great”, unless we are talking about what is great for our ego or for evil, but it is not great in the eyes of God and it is God who holds our reality. We can only be free in that reality if we are obedient to God’s Will because we know that it is our own.