Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Do patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope, perseverance, the abscense of envy, boastfulness, pride, rudness, selfishness, anger and unforgivness sound like characteristics one can 'fall into' to you? They certainly do not to me! However, these are all the characteristics Paul listed as those belonging to love.
These are characteristics one must cultivate on a daily, moment-by-moment basis. Therefore, it requires commitment in order to foster and build them into our lives. In that we have the true meaning of love...the daily, moment-by-moment commitment to practice characteristics which do not come naturally to us, but which require work to display toward others and sometimes toward God as well.
Deuteronomy 30 tells of God speaking to the Israelites as they stood at the Jordan River, preparing to cross into Canaan. He sets before them the blessings He has in store for them if they love Him and obey Him. He also sets before them the curses disobedience will bring. Then, He gives them a choice as seen in verses 19 and 20a:
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him...So, we see clearly that love is a choice even in relation to God. God does not force us to love Him; He offers us the truth about our choices and then leaves us free to choose. He reminds us that our choices have consequences and that loving Him will require commitment.
If our love relationship with God is a choice that requires commitment, why do we think our relationships with one another should or will be any different? Many times in our lives we will love people not because we want to, but because we choose to.
Romantic relationships are no different; marriage is no different. I was married to Terry for over 33 years. I woke up every day choosing to love him and keep my commitments to him. On some of those days, I didn't like him very much, but I kept the commitments I had made to him....I loved him.
There have been some difficult periods in my life when I haven't liked God very much, but I keep the commitments I made to Him on the day He I asked Him to come into my heart and forgive me...I love Him.
Love is a choice that requires commitment and produces contentment and joy in our innermost being. Whether practiced between an individual and God or between individuals, love is the only choice that can bring true happiness to our lives.