It is said that man is a free moral agent, meaning he possesses unrestricted power in making moral choices—what we call free will. Undeniably, God’s eternal purpose required that man be given the ability to choose, not merely between right and wrong, but more importantly in regard to the lordship of God over his life. Yet what appears on the surface to be the ability to choose freely is something more than merely free will.
Man’s rejection of God does not in any way mean that he possesses freedom of choice in regard to everything else. Rather, in refusing to accept God’s purpose for his life, he inevitably opens himself up to control by another force—Satan. The tool the devil uses to subjugate man is his will, which is inherently rooted in self-interest. So instead, we should think of this self-serving attribute of man’s nature—what we commonly call free will—as self-will.