Love as a Decision of the Will

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The brother of Ravi Zacharias said this: “Love is as much a question of the will as it is of the emotion. And if you WILL to love somebody, you can.” That was not just a meaningless statement for him. He actually experienced it. You see, Ravi’s brother married the woman arranged for him by his parents, the custom in India where he was from. He says of this that, while our culture idolizes feelings as the ultimate barometer of love, the Bible does not. In fact, 1 Cor 13:3-7, the love chapter, speaks of actions rather than feelings. It speaks of commitment rather than attraction. Ravi says of this:

“William Doherty begins his excellent book “Take Back Your Marriage” with a powerful illustration. His office is located in St. Paul, Minnesota, not far from the farthest point north on the Mississippi River. He describes the river’s formidable but silent current that drives its waters southward. ‘Everything on the water that is not powered by wind, gasoline, or human muscle’ heads south.

Then he adds these words: ‘I have thought that getting married is like launching a canoe into the Mississippi at St. Paul. If you don’t paddle, you go south. No matter how much you love each other, no matter how full of hope and promise and good intentions, if you stay on the Mississippi without a good deal of paddling — occasional paddling is not enough — you end up in New Orleans. Which is a problem if you want to stay north.’

“But this kind of commitment does not come easily. Only if it is taken seriously does it become a sheer delight of the heart. I will also add that this kind of commitment is not seen much in the times in which we live. The reason we have a crisis in our gender relationships is not that we are culturally indoctrinated but that we would rather be served than serve. We would rather be the head than the feet. Reversing that trend requires commitment and a decision of the will.

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