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Free Will

“At times we may become so consumed and focused on our own problems and worries that we forget that God is there. We also may feel that God gets impatient or frustrated with our setbacks or slow progress.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Our continual mistake is that we do not concentrate upon the present day, the actual hour, of our life; we live in the past or in the future; we are continually expecting the coming of some special moment when our life will unfold itself in its full significance. And we do not notice that life is mowing like water through our fingers, sifting like precious grain from a loosely fastened bag. Constantly, each day, each hour, God is sending us people, circumstances, tasks, which should mark the beginning of our renewal; yet we pay them no attention, and thus continually we resist God's will for us. Indeed, how can God help us? Only by sending us in our daily life certain people, and certain coincidences of circumstance. If we accepted every hour of our life as the hour of God's will for us, as the decisive, most important, unique hour of our life – what sources of joy, love, strength, as yet hidden from us, would spring from the depths of our soul! Let us then be serious in our attitude towards each person we meet in our life, towards every opportunity of performing a good deed; be sure that you will then fulfill God's will for you in these very circumstances, on that very day, in that very hour.” (Fr. Alexander Elchaninov)


“Searching out God’s will demands alertness of spirit. Let us set aside the belief that we are in charge and embrace the apostle’s [Paul’s] humility. When we place the details of our lives in Christ’s hands, seeking His will and accepting our Lord as the Governor of our life’s path, we will discover the joy of having an infallible Guide manage our choices at every moment.” (Dynamis 8/25/2021)


“ ‘Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles’ (Romans 1:13). Paul was hindered in coming to Rome because of his missionary work among the other Gentiles. Though Paul's personal desire was to go to Rome, he submitted to God's will by first accomplishing what God had planned for him in these other places.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 1:13)


“In good times we are apt to forget that we own neither the present nor the future. We begin to construct a life for ourselves without reference to our Creator and Redeemer. But in times of misfortune, when things do not go our way, we see the futility of our efforts to live for ourselves. At these times, it is a great comfort to believe that everything is in the hands of God…We do not own our lives, nor are we in charge of them. But the God of mercy grants us strength and comfort in stressful times, so we grow in faith its fruit.” (Fr. Basil)


“Predestined must not be understood as overpowering man's free response, for man's free will is a gift from God. Nor does the term apply to individuals. Rather this term (which can also be translated “preordained”) means that God has a specific calling for His people from before the beginning of the world…‘But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake’ (Acts 9:15-16). That Saul was God's chosen vessel does not mean that he had no free will in the matter. Rather, it indicates that God had selected Saul, knowing that he would freely accept and be capable of doing the work set before him…God's foreknowledge does not preclude or bind human will.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 8:28-30, Acts 9:15, 1 Peter 1:2)


“There is a "predestination," not in the sense that God programs His creatures or forces His will upon them against their will, but rather that God knows every person from before the foundation of the world and provides their unique life and the specific conditions of their earthly way which are literally the best possible conditions for them; however unacceptable this may seem to us creatures in our limited and fallen state. And God works together with each one of us so that, by suffering what we must on this earth, we may attain to life everlasting in the age to come.” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)


“For if a human being is made with free will, that free will cannot be forced, nor can anyone accuse him who has decreed their fate of having done anything to them which they did not fully deserve as a result of their own actions…God giving us free will means God is willing to deal with our choices, even when we are errant or defiant. God suffers in, through and with us as well as because of us. God’s suffering is completely voluntary – it is God’s chosen path of being love. God is the one that brings all into existence and because God is love shares both His life and love with us. “ (Oecumenius, Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“We must first place our will in God's will. The more completely we succeed in placing it there, keeping nothing for ourselves, the more strength and comfort we will achieve. The point is to let our will be so attuned that we desire only what God wishes—and desire nothing He does not.” (Fr. Jack Sparks)


“This opacity of the world is born out of our habit of seeing things as though they existed in themselves, when, in fact, nothing does. Everything that exists does so only as the immediate gift of God, sustained in its existence solely by His good will. When we look at anything in all of creation, we see the good will of God. I think we often fail in this seeing because we think the “good will of God” must be measured by some sort of benefit, something added to what is there. We do not understand that even mere existence is His good gift. The well-ordering of all things (which is a mark of all things that exist) is not a self-contained property, but a reflection of the Logos through Whom all things exist…Intimacy with the Lord…is achieved by cheerful willingness in doing the will of God.” (Father Stephen Freeman, St. Basil the Great)


‘But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake’ (Acts 9:15-16). That Saul was God's chosen vessel does not mean that he had no free will in the matter. Rather, it indicates that God had selected Saul, knowing that he would freely accept and be capable of doing the work set before him…God's foreknowledge does not preclude or bind human will.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 9:15, 1 Peter 1:2)

“There is a "predestination," not in the sense that God programs His creatures or forces His will upon them against their will, but rather that God knows every person from before the foundation of the world and provides their unique life and the specific conditions of their earthly way which are literally the best possible conditions for them; however unacceptable this may seem to us creatures in our limited and fallen state. And God works together with each one of us so that, by suffering what we must on this earth, we may attain to life everlasting in the age to come.” (Father Thomas Hopko)

“All power belongs to God. God is the creator of all things, even that to which He gives free will. He is the orderer of the universe, and nothing exists without Him.” (Bishop John)

“These two things — that is, the grace of God and free will — certainly seem mutually opposed to one another, but both are in accord, and we understand that we must accept both in like manner by reason of our religion, lest by removing one of them from the human being we seem to contravene the rule of the Church’s faith. For when God sees us turning in order to will what is good, He comes to us, directs us, and strengthens us, for as soon as He hears the voice of our cry, He will respond to you.” (St. John Cassian)

“We must believe in free will. We have no choice.” (Isaac B. Singer)

“The ungodly are those who move their free will in the wrong direction. This movement is away from Wisdom [Christ] and His virtues...The simple man is one who is beginning to move his will toward Wisdom and His virtues." (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 21:6,10)

“Every choice for good sets into motion other opportunities for good. Evil choices follow the same pattern, but in the opposite direction. Each decision you make to obey God will bring a greater sense of order to your life, while each decision to disobey will bring confusion and destruction. The right choices you make reflect your integrity.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 13:6)

“Our God is a redeeming God who knows how to deal with sin. Although there is no rebellion that goes beyond His reach, the remedy has to be His. The first step in obedience is repentance—turning away from the direction we are going in order to see God.” (Foundation Study Bible, Isaiah 1:18-20)

"At the center of the mystery of creation lies the simple yet unfathomable fact that He alone can make the difference between “Not Being” and “Being.” It is only with Him and in Him that we can “become” in the proper direction, toward Him, while the “serpent” can only lead us to various paths of “un-being”; of retreating from our intended purpose." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

"We must be confident in our faith in God; we must believe that He will not abandon us. As long as we seek first the Kingdom of God and trust in His goodness we will be beginning to purify our hearts. It is the inner direction that Christ calls us to; it is a simplicity of values and desires." (Father Spyridon Baily)

#OrthodoxStudyBible #LifeApplicationStudyBible #FoundationStudyBible #SrDrVassaLarin #FatherSpyridonBaily #FatherThomasHopko #BishopJohn #StJohnCassian #IsaacBSinger #FrThomasHopko #Oecumenius #FrTedBobosh #FrJackSparks #FatherStephenFreeman #StBasiltheGreat #FrJoshuaMakoul #FrAlexanderElchaninov #Dynamis #FrBasil

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