"The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, 'You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden — except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.'" -Genesis 2:15-17
Did you know that, in the beginning of time, God gave us a very important gift? The gift He gave us wasn't life, or work, authority, or companionship — although those are very important things that did He give to us. But God gave us something very powerful that most of us don't even realize: He gave each of us the ability to choose. He gave us the gift of free will.
We may think that we know what free will is, and yes, it is a choice. God could have created us as drones in the garden — robots to do His bidding — (which would have been far easier), but He didn't. "Then God said, 'Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.' So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." -Genesis 1:26 & 27
However, we as believers do much of the world a disservice when we expect them to abide by the same rules and belief systems that we do. I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "To love is to let go." If a choice is forced upon someone, then it really isn't their choice. But God is a good, loving God, drawing each of us to repentance by His goodness. "Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" -Romans 2:4
We shouldn't be people who expect the world to live by our standards. Instead, we should be the ones to love and serve the world, creating an example that your best life is lived with God, surrounded by a community of people who love others and want to serve them too. And, most of all, who have really understood what it means to accept Jesus' free unmerited gift of precious eternal life and live in His abundant love, grace, and joy.
Do you know how powerful this precious gift of free will is? Pray today that you would use your free will to bless and benefit others, so that more and more people could come into relationship with a loving God who cares about them so so deeply.
Related resource: Changes That Heal: Four Practical Steps to a Happier, Healthier You by Henry Cloud