Q) Jesus said that you can not be a follower of God unless God calls you to be. How is that free will?
A) In scripture, there are a number of statements that imply what you are describing. One such example is in John 6:44 which says No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
I think in our English language, it is easy to misinterpret this statement, but when we look at it in its original language and in its cultural context, we see another point of view.
The idea is this. Because mankind is by nature very sinful, and because God is so holy, we really have no way to find Him, unless He makes Himself known to us. I think about it this way. God is so far above us, that we would never stand a chance at knowing Him with out Him making Himself more relatable. For example, we barely understand even the nature of our own reality. The sciences are only just beginning to consider how much we don’t know about sub atomic particle physics, space, time, and what is at the edges of our universe. And yet God is outside of all that, and was the creator of it. With the breath of a single word, He initiated the big bang and spoke life into all of creation. A creation and a universe we have no idea about. If we barely understand our own reality, then we have no chance at understanding or knowing the God who created it.
All the while, God desires that we know Him personally. Therefore it is God who must take the first step in making Himself knowable. I expect that is one reason why God saw fit to live His as a human named Jesus Christ, so that we could know God in a relatable way that makes him personal.
Simply put, if He didn’t draw us to Himself, we would never come. Jesus explains that no man can come unless the Father draws him (John 6:65). The natural man has no ability to come to God, nor does he even have the desire to come. Because his heart is hard and his mind is darkened, the unregenerate person doesn’t desire God and is actually an enemy of God (Romans 5:10). When Jesus says that no man can come without God’s drawing him, He is making a statement about the total depravity of the sinner and the universality of that condition. So darkened is the unsaved person’s heart that he doesn’t even realize it .
Therefore, it is only by the merciful and gracious drawing of God that we are saved. In the conversion of the sinner, God enlightens the mind (Ephesians 1:18), inclines the will toward Himself, and influences the soul, without which influence the soul remains darkened and rebellious against God. All of this is involved in the drawing process.
First, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sinful state and our need for a Savior (John 16:8). Second, He awakens in us a previously unknown interest in spiritual things and creates a desire for them that was never there before. Suddenly our ears are open, our hearts are inclined toward Him, and His Word begins to hold a new and exciting fascination for us. Our spirits begin to discern spiritual truth that never made sense to us before: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Finally, we begin to have new desires. He places within us a new heart that inclines toward Him, a heart that desires to know Him, obey Him, and walk in the “newness of life” (Romans 6:4) that He has promised.
Some content was sourced from www.gotquestions.org