"Simply stated, it is this: we are not free to love unless we are free not to love. If you don't have a choice, you cannot freely move toward God-or any person. The Bible never says you have to follow God because you don't. He treats you like an adult. He wants a free choice or none at all. He wants you to choose or not choose Him. (But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Josh.24:15). It is a little astounding hen you think about it. God gives up all the control He could use and puts Himself in an extremely humble and vulnerable position. He asks us to love Him and follow Him. And He waits for us to make up our minds. What a dilemma that puts God in! He certainly has the power and wherewithal to force the issue. He could reach inside your heart and tweak it so that you wouldn't have a choice to turn from Him. But He doesn't do that because He wants to be pursued. He will give back many times more than He will ever receive from us, but He does want to be wanted."
Don't you just love this? When I read this it just speaks to my heart. Isn't that what pure love is? A choice? God doesn't force Himself on us. He allows us to make a choice. How can we be free to love unless we are free not to love? Remember that first young love? As you sat by the phone waiting for their call, couldn't wait for that door bell to ring, and couldn't wait to see them in the hallway, as they carried your books to class. You seem to be so excited and filled with giddiness. When you hear their voice, you just audiomatically smile. When you see them, it just lights up your day. Remember all those love notes? Passing them in class because you couldn't wait to hear from them. You spend your time dreaming about all the possibilities for now and the future. What girl didn't plan her wedding with that first boy she fell head over heals in love with? You just seem to give all you have to pursue that person. I spent no telling how much time by that phone, waiting to hear, and grinning from ear to ear when I heard that voice. As you hold hands you feel a connection and at that moment your love blossoms. My mother would tell you that I only thought of one thing, that boy. She would also add nothing else much mattered. I woke thinking about him and went to bed doing the same. Now, that first love passed as I grew, but now as I walk with Jesus, I realize He was my first love, and forever will be. There is no love greater than His. He doesn't force me to love Him. He doesn't force me to spend time with Him. And unlike that boy, well, I don't have to wait by the phone to hear from God. His voice is just a prayer away. And I have felt His hand upon mine many times and felt a connection like no other. We seem to spend much of our time pursing our dreams, goals, friendships, and all else that makes us smile. I should be pursing God with all I have. As I pursue Him with a pure heart, He will know my love is true, and our relationship will blossom. It's just like that first love. You spend time getting to know him or her. It is in that time that your love grows, and a bond is made. You see the beauty in the other, you listen to them as they share. As you go to bed, pulling the cover up, you dream of them before you close your eyes. When you wake, they are the first person you think of as you open your eyes. And you can't wait to spend time with them. That is the relationship Jesus wants with us. He want to be first in our hearts. He wants to spend time with us. He wants to hear our dreams and share with us all He has for us. He wants to be there on those really great days that make you smile, and on those hard days that seem to bring tears. He wants to share in our laughter.
He is forever pursuing us, and if our eyes are opened, we can see Him in our lives. Today can be the day we pursue Him. It can be the beginning of a new relationship. The more we know Him, the more time we will want to spend with Him. Pursue Him today with all you have and desire. You will find the greatest love in Him. After all, we have His love letter to us. Now, that is one worth reading and passing around for others to see just how special it is!
If you would like to hear more of Dr. Townsend's book you can read my review here or you can find it here at http://www.thomasnelson.com/