Why Love Doesn’t Just Happen
“That you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:20 NIV)
Today we’ve bought into this myth that love is uncontrollable, that it’s something that just happens to us. In fact, even the language we use implies the uncontrollability of love. We say, “I fell in love,” as if love is some kind of ditch. It’s like I’m walking along one day and — bam! — I fell in love. I couldn’t help myself.
But I have to tell you the truth: That’s not love. Love doesn’t just happen to you. Love is a choice, and it represents a commitment.
There’s no doubt about it: Attraction is uncontrollable and arousal is uncontrollable. But attraction and arousal are not love. They can lead to love, but they are not love. Love is a choice.
You must choose to love God; he won’t force you to love him (Deuteronomy 30:20). You can thumb your nose at God and go a totally different way. You can destroy your life if you choose to do that. God still won’t force you to love him, because he knows love can’t be forced.
This same principle is true about your relationships: You can choose to love others, but God won’t force you to love anyone.
Is there someone in your life, like a family member, friend, or neighbor, who you have trouble loving? God will help you love that person if you make the choice to do so.
That doesn’t mean everything will become perfect; it doesn’t even mean that person will accept your love. But you are the only person who can stop you from loving someone else — because love is a choice you make.
Talk It Over
Why is it important for people in a relationship to understand that they must choose to love each other?
How does it make love more meaningful to understand that it is a choice and not something that happens to you?
Who do you need God’s help to love? Ask God now to give you his love for that person.
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