Love Is a Choice
By Rick Warren
Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. Even when you don’t feel like it, you can choose to do it anyway.
I once talked with a young mother who felt overwhelmed and was battling depression. It seemed like her schedule and the demands on her life were too much to handle. She felt like all she did was nag her kids and scold them incessantly. When she looked at herself, she saw a failure. In her despair, she cried out to the Lord.
As she spent more time reading the Bible, she found the answer in 1 Corinthians 13. Five words in particular leaped out at her: “Without love, I am nothing.” So she wrote out these words and placed the notes all over her house—on her refrigerator door, on the dashboard of her SUV, at the top of her calendar.
“I realized the single most important thing I could do was love my family,” she said. “So I began to live my life by love. I began to run my home on love. It was as transforming as when I accepted Christ into my life. It brought the happiness back into my life and my home.”
What made the difference for this young mom? She made a choice. It wasn’t always the easy choice, but it changed the whole dynamic of her home and the way she saw herself as a mother and as God’s child.
Acting in love when you don’t feel like it is actually a greater expression of love than when you do feel like it. Love is getting up in the middle of the night to help a sick kid after you’ve already had a long day and went to bed late. Love is being patient with your spouse when they’re irritable. Love is giving a person what they need, not what they deserve.
It’s easier to act your way into a feeling than feel your way into an action. If you act in a loving way, eventually the feelings will follow. That’s important to remember when you are trying to love people who seem unlovable.
When you love in spite of your feelings, that’s called loving by faith. And it doesn’t just change the other person. It changes you, too, and makes you more like Jesus.
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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