Love Story was a blockbuster film released in 1970. The prototypical chick flick, it was a schmaltzy tragedy about two young lovers against time. The catch line was “love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Well, I’m sorry, but that’s about as far from reality as you can get. Sorrow, apology, and forgiveness are essential for real love, because we are all fallible humans. I know that if I never said, “I’m sorry,” my marriage would be a real tragedy.
The world’s view of love.
At one time I, too, thought that love was a feeling. Even a state of being. You either love someone or you don’t, and that’s the way it is. You don’t know if love will last, because you can’t be sure the feeling will stay. You don’t have any control over it.
Then there’s falling in love. The trouble is that when you fall, you usually get hurt. And falling in love is no different. The operative feeling here is infatuation, and that isn’t real love. Instead of caring about the other, you’re really in it for yourself.
That’s what the world thinks. Love is something that happens to you, or what you fall into. You don’t get to decide. It’s something that somehow just comes on you. So it must be a feeling.
Love is a choice.
But love is not a feeling. The reality is that you choose to love. You may feel like you want to love someone, or you may not feel it. But whether you do love them is a decision that you make.
It may be harder to love someone who has hurt you or that you don’t like. But you can still do it. If God’s love has taken over your life, you can choose to love them anyway. You want to love them, so you choose to.
By making the decision to love, you actually love. That’s because love is the choice. You decide to love someone regardless of their behavior or your feelings or anything else. Love is always up to you.
Choose to love God.
Because love is a choice, you choose whether you love God. You have to want it first, but wanting it isn’t enough. That’s why Jesus said to love God with all your mind (see Mark 12:30). It’s a decision, an act of the will.
To love God, you choose Him over self, sin, Satan, and the world. And loving God with all your mind means continually choosing for Him. So make all your decisions in favor of God. Choose to obey, to walk with Him, and to live in His presence. Choose to do the things that honor Him. Choose to spend your time with Him.
Love God today.
Here is a prayer which expresses this choice:
Father, I choose to love You. It’s a choice I make today. I choose right now not to make this day something for me. Not to choose my own ways, priorities, or desires.
I choose instead to love You so much that I sacrifice anything that self or the flesh wants. I choose to deny self. To ignore the world’s enticements. To let You be the king of my life, so that Satan has no ownership whatsoever. (He doesn’t anyway, but now he can’t even fake it.)
Thank you for choosing to love me. I now choose to love You in return.
Choice and consequence.
When you choose to love God, you choose to do all the things that have to do with loving God. You decide to honor and glorify Him. You choose to communicate with Him and listen to what He tells you. You choose to obey His word and act the way He wants. And you choose to live in love with God.
What else happens when you decide to love someone?
Photo by kevingessner