I often feel as though, under the pressure of addictive sin, I have no choice but to fall. How much choice do we really have when something seems impossible to resist?
This is a very good question, and sadly it suggests a deception too often propagated about one of the great gifts God gave us, the gift of choice. Because He knew coerced love and obedience were worth little, He created Adam and Eve and placed them in a perfect environment and relationship in the Garden. God issued only one limitation: they were not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2). Notice this limitation involved choice. To maintain this wonderful life, they had to choose to do right.
I teach a course that focuses on a theology of sin in great literature. In the class, we read a number of books and stories in which the main character is destroyed by compulsive attraction to evil. In every case he or she chooses to open the door to darkness and keeps choosing through self-deception to go places, be with people, or do things that perpetuate poor choices. The warning is clear. We can choose, but good choices come out of rigorous self-examination. It matters what we do not only in our work time but also in our spare time, what we watch, what we read, what we listen to, whom we befriend. Nothing is neutral. We can take nothing for granted. If we are not practicing holiness in all that we do, our wills will be weakened, leading to great difficulty in choosing righteousness. We start believing the lie that choice is no longer possible.