I hate watching my friends get everything their hearts desire.
Recently in Sunday school at Providence Church, I posed the following question about the nature of the human will: How can Martin Luther write a book entitled The Bondage of the Will and Jonathan Edwards write The Freedom of the Will and both essentially saying the same thing?
In other words, is the human will free or in bondage (i.e., not free)?
I summarize it like this: The will is free to do what it wants, but it is not free to do what it ought.
We might also talk about natural vs. moral ability, having the former, but lacking the latter.
Another way to say it is that human beings are free to do what they want, but they are also bound to do what they want. They must choose according to their strongest desire at the point of decision.
The question becomes, what motivates those decisions? Of what substance are those desires? One dead in sins (Eph 2:1), who loves the darkness (John 3:19-20), and cannot see the kingdom (John 3:3) must have a heart opened (Acts 16:14) and mercifully made alive (Eph 2:4-5) in order to desire Christ so as to choose Him.
Dr. D. James Kennedy: "Are Total Depravity and free will compatible? Yes and no. As we said to an earlier question, free will can mean one of two things. If we are talking about the sense in which free will exists in every human being, whether regenerate or unregenerate, then we can say “Yes”, obviously they are compatible because unregenerate people do make choices. That is the sense in which man is free to choose whatever he wants to choose. All men are free to do that. The unregenerate man makes choices every day: what tie he will wear, what he will eat for dinner; whatever it may be. But in the significant sense in which its used in the Bible, which is man is free to do what he ought to do, (which is repent of his sins, turn from his wickedness, surrender his life to Christ and follow Him in godliness), unregenerate man is not free to do that. The more he hears of it, the more he dislikes it. And his will and heart and mind must be changed for him to do that." (in DVD series "Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism")