God's will vs. free will

Hi guys,

So the short version question, how is God’s will and free will balanced, if we truly desire God and God’s will?

The longer version will start with a joke, I am sure you might have heard it. There is a flood, and a devout catholic is on the roof waiting for God to save him. He prays. A boat comes, asks him to hop on, but he says, no it’s ok, God will save me. Rinse and repeat 3 times. He finally dies, meets God in heaven, and ask why he wasn’t saved, and God responded, “well, I sent you three boats!!”.

The more fundamental question is, how much can be attributed to faith in God, and God’s will, and how much by our own action? On one hand, we are to resist sin, but on the other, without God’s grace we are not able to accomplish anything. So how do we balance that? So that we give enough faith to God, but yet, also try to accomplish this on our own?

My situation is that if I try to accomplish something alone in my own hands, I will likely fail, because God’s grace is required. However, If I put all my faith on God, won’t there be an argument that I need to put effort into it, not just sit around and put my faith in God?

Or put it differently. I am a slave to sin. I cannot release myself from this chain without God and God’s Grace. So I need to put faith in God and ask for the holy spirit. But when I go to confession, I must regret my sins, and try harder - some focus is on me. So where is the balance between me and my actions vs. God and God’s grace?

This is my dilemma. Not sure if my ramble is understood. Please comment.

I think there is a kernel of good theology behind the axiom, “Pray as if all things depended on God, act as if all things depended on you.” Since God ordinarily acts through human beings, whenever we or someone else does something right or needful, we can give the glory to God. Does that help answer your question?

Thank you, yes perhaps, but seems like it’s approaching a paradox…

That’s because we don’t have perfect understanding. We just muddle along as best we can. God understands our limitations.

It seems pretty clear to most Christians that God’s Will is that each one of us LOVE Him and LOVE others for the sake of loving God.

We think of God as the Father. Thus we are His children. We want His love, His help and His guidance. Even as decently educated adults we understand the continual need for a proper relationship with God the Father. We know we have to keep ourselves open to God’s guidance. With His guidance, His Grace, we attain power to love properly. For most of us, loving properly is life’s journey.

Our Father has given us Free Will. True love is not love at all if we see it as only a duty. True Love is freely given. That free giving comes from our Free Will.

Free Will allows us to NOT love. Or not love as well or as often as we should.

Often we get stuck in a adolescent mode of Free Will: I can do whatever I please. There are no constraints because I am smart enough and free enough. Such thinking is not based on the two great Commandments to love.

So, it seems that the balance between God’s Will and Free Will is knowing God’s Will: to love properly, and choosing to use our Free Will to love properly.

So far, so good.

But when I go to confession, I must regret my sins,

If you didn’t regret your sins (which is a Grace from God), you would not be going to confession in the first place, would you? You regret them because you love Him, no?

and try harder

Um, no; you just need to keep trying and not despair.

So where is the balance between me and my actions vs. God and God’s grace?

It’s really all God, the only you do is to love God and so cooperate with His Grace. It’s all about Love and Grace!

Its a delicate balance, but in the end Gods purpose is always to involve man’s will, as was His purpose in the beginning, in Eden. From the Catechism:

**1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom. On man’s part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:

When God touches man’s heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God’s grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God’s sight.42**

Thanks so much guys, so in other words, you need two to tango ! :slight_smile:

Yep, that’s how He wants it!

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