Love is a choice2
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
- Colossians 3:14
Everyone loves love. Plenty of people in our culture would sign off on today’s passage. “All you need is love,” our own poets have sung.
Paul’s teaching about love in verse 14 of Colossians is consistent with what he’s said earlier in the chapter. We who are chosen by God, called “holy,” and dearly loved will show love toward others.
But there’s something very interesting about the love that Paul writes about in today’s passage. Love is a choice, not just a feeling. We are called to wrap all of our other virtues up in love. We are called to choose love on the other side of forgiveness. We are called to wear love like a cloak around our shoulders on a cold night.
Paul’s teaching about love pushes us to ask ourselves: “What choices do I have and where am I making them?” This is freeing and empowering and terrifying. We are free to love, given power to love and expected to love.
Love really does hold the other virtues – compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience – together. Compassion without love will be impatient. Kindness without love will be proud. Humility without love will become unkind. Gentleness without love will become passive. And patience without love will become condescending. Love makes sure all the virtues show up at the same time.
Where have you tried to show the virtues without love? What was the fruit of that effort? What were the consequences?