by Pastor Mark Jordan
“The message you heard from the very beginning is this: we must love one another.” (1 John 3:11, GNT)
Love is a choice. Let that sink in. All too often we act as though love is something that happens to us, and we are passive in the process. We say I fell in love, or the heart just wants what the heart wants. Where there might be some inklings of truth there, it isn’t THE truth! Love is a choice.
Love can seem easy when it’s new, and we fallaciously believe there is nothing that can spoil those feelings. But life happens, and when it does, you have to make a choice. This reminds me of something my dad asked me when Tiffany and I were working through some of those growing pains: is life better with or without her? I knew the answer. Making that choice to love changed my world.
Today’s verse echoes this for me. The message from the very beginning is love; it is, in fact, God’s very nature. God loves you and me, and wants us to love each other, too. When we read the message of the Bible, it says we must love one another. That sounds less like a choice and more like a commandment, which it really is. Consider what Jesus said as recorded in John 13:34, “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (GNT). Jesus is saying we have to make the choice to love, but in retrospect, it isn’t choice at all.
It is estimated the average adult makes 35,000 choices in one day. Some of these are obvious, and others very subtle. Some require consciousness, while others happen in the subconsciousness. I want to encourage you to start today — and everyday to come — with one choice: to love God with all you are and have, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. When you start with that one choice, the other 34,999 will be entirely different. Make it so!
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for loving me first, and asking me to make a choice to love which is really no choice at all. Give me the strength I need to love you and others, knowing this will change the world, beginning with my own. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.