"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
Once upon a time, there was a very handsome groom betrothed to a homely young woman. The parents of the two had arranged the marriage. The handsome groom loved the homely young woman very much, but the woman did not love him.
Some time passed and the two were married. Day after day, the man lavished his love upon the bride in an effort to woo her and win her love, yet day-after-day his efforts were either ignored or dismissed. The young woman failed to return her husband's love. In fact, she began to make advances toward other men, and though they abused her, she gave herself freely to them.
The husband was very distraught over his wife's behavior and so decided he must do more to demonstrate his love for her. He spared no effort or expense in his endeavor to win her. He learned everything about her, gave her extravagant gifts of all her favorite things, showed kindness to her that knew no bounds. Still, he was rebuffed.
Finally, the husband said to himself, "I have given my lovely bride anything and everything she could ever desire. I have given her myself, but still she does not love me. I will set her free and maybe then she will find love and happiness."
In the days that followed, the homely woman did anything and everything her heart desired, so excited for her newfound freedom. She finally settled down and married another, assured in her heart and mind that this would bring her happiness. But soon the man began to treat her harshly and abuse her in unspeakable ways both physically and emotionally. Recognizing now what real love was, she longed to return to her first husband, the one who showed this love to her, for now she realized that she, in fact, loved him, too.
Jesus lavishes His love upon us each and every day. He knows all about us, and blesses us in ways unimaginably grand. He loves us sacrificially, and even gave us His one and only Son. But many of us either ignore or dismiss His every demonstration of love. He gives us the freedom to choose to love and serve Him of our own will--He never forces His way upon us. But, to follow Jesus, to be married to Him, is to choose life, love, peace and joy for all eternity. To reject Him is to choose death and eternal damnation.
Which will you choose?
"We love because God first loved us." 1 John 4:19