By Libby Ven Huizen
“It’s your choice!”
Those three words might be the three words I hate the most. I would consider myself a pretty indecisive person, I don’t have really strong opinions about many things. So, let’s just say I’m usually not thrilled when someone gives me the opportunity to be the decision-maker.
Although I personally don’t like making decisions, I involuntarily make hundreds of decisions every day. When I wake up, I decide that hitting snooze just one more time won’t hurt. Maybe I choose to hold open a door for someone, or I decide something as mundane as what I’ll eat for lunch, and I decide every day whether or not I’m going to love God.
I never really thought about loving God as a choice until recently. A few weeks ago, in my Theology of Worship class, something said during the discussion that day made my mind hit a roadblock. I just couldn’t understand why our God who doesn’t even need us, would create us knowing that we would reject Him and His love repeatedly. So, I asked Dr. Lief this question, and his response was:
“You can’t have love without freedom.”
And then the lightbulb went off.
God decided to create me with free will, knowing that I would abuse it every single day. He knew I might not choose to love Him, He knew I would break His heart with my sin, and He knew that I might even completely reject Him at one point or another. And even though God knew that this abuse of free will was inevitable, He also knew that drowning in sin would leave my fragile human heart in desperate need of Him.
Seeing love as a choice made me understand that every fiber of my being was created to need and crave God’s love, but He still created me to be able to decide if I wanted it. He gave me the choice between complete satisfaction and empty, worldly fulfillment—knowing all along that I could only truly be satisfied in Him. If God forced me to love Him, my love would not be true because it would not be freely given.
Realizing that loving God is a choice convicted me about the way I love others. I’ve always known cognitively that I’m supposed to love my neighbor, but I never really understood spiritually that that means making a daily choice to love others despite their flaws and messiness and shortcomings, because that is exactly how God loves me. He chooses me daily even when I mess up, and He calls me to choose others daily too.
This whole “choice” concept was really eye-opening for me. To me, loving God was always something that I did, because that’s “just what Christians are supposed to do.” I never realized that loving God was a choice to be vulnerable and completely dependent and known, but also to be completely satisfied. I never realized that having the freedom to choose God brings Him the most glory, and I never realized that having this choice might be the best gift I could have ever received.
So, although I (and maybe you too) usually dread the words, “It’s your choice,” loving God is one choice I don’t think I mind so much. I think this is one choice I’d like to make over and over again every day.