Human beings are moral agents, created in the image of God — created in the image of God because we were to reflect the character of God (Ge.1:26, Ep.4:24 & 5:1). We possess a unique mental capacity, the ability to receive, understand and grow in knowledge. We have an emotional system, the ability to experience feelings in response to various forms of stimulus. Also, a very important and somewhat mysterious ability, the human will, which enables us to govern our minds and emotions, making choices about how we will use our abilities. I refer to the will as mysterious because in that the will is capable of governing the mind and emotions, it also must govern itself — it possesses a self-governing capacity in contrast to being governed by yet another source.
All of us, nearly in a constant manner, are subject to influence. Much influence comes upon us from outside sources and some arises from within (2 Co.7:5). Some influences are good, and some are bad. An influence must be kept distinct from a cause. A cause produces an effect regardless of conscious, moral choice. An influence produces tendencies, which can be acted upon or resisted. Influences effect what we think (our minds) and what we feel (our emotions). For example, an insulting person might inspire negative thoughts or emotions. For some, the negative thoughts might encourage a poor self-image while for others, the negative thoughts might encourage violence toward the insulting party. The important thing to realize is that we can willfully govern the thoughts and feelings that arise. Even under strong influence we can redirect such thoughts and feelings from a destructive response to a constructive response. The ability to do this abides with the God-given, human will. Void of this capacity, moral agency ceases to exist.
The scenarios are varied. There is a certain amount of moral truth all human beings possess (Ro.1:18-19 & 2:14-15). One has the ability to embrace and act upon such truth or to reject and ignore such truth. Both moral responses are willful acts. One must willfully seek to grow in knowledge and accuracy of understanding. However, the possession of truth (accurate or inaccurate) does not guarantee one’s behavior. There is always an act of the will in moral behavior. The same is true regarding our emotional activity (good or bad). It must be understood that surrendering the will to one’s thoughts or emotions is an act of the will. It is never appropriate to allow one’s mental or emotional activities in the driver’s seat, even when the thoughts or feelings are correct. The will is designed to be the governing moral capacity.
How much behavior is governed by thoughts or emotions that arise without being subject to willful government? When the Apostle Paul states, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell (think) on these things,” he presupposes the role and function of the will to govern what we think upon. As well, when he says, “…and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” he presupposes the ability to willfully govern both mind and behavior. Consider, in the following quote, the need to govern both our minds and our emotions with a proper use of the will. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Col 3:2-5).
The importance of grasping the above concept is that this is how one walks in love and avoids being overcome by the flesh, by wrong thoughts, urges and impulses.
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
 In Cooking with God we will consider the natural attributes of God and man generally considered.