Exercising Choice

There’s nothing like another birth and a post-pregnancy body to remind me that I need exercise.  Muscles need toning, the extra weight needs to be lost, and in general there is a level of stamina that needs to be rebuilt for the physical demands of keeping up with my kids.  The lower back groans with each bend, I get winded when I climb the stairs to my friend’s 3rd floor apartmenshoest, and my arms beg for mercy when my baby’s 14 pound body is too much to bear.  It’s this discomfort and pain that remind me that exercise is vital to my health.

In much the same way, our faith needs toning.  And what is faith?   It is a willful choice to act on what we know to be true despite what we see. It is this muscle of choice which must be exercised. If not, our faith will beflabby and unable to stand against the demands of our day.  These days when terrorism is a normal word in conversation…. …when the countries of the world are mixing and mingling through immigration like never before in history.  This is our day. This is our opportunity to exercise choice.

Dear friends, I beg you to respond to the events of our world with a choice to love, a choice to believe. Every terrorist plot, every dichotomy between Christianity and Islam, every advance of ISIS provides us with another reminder to exercise the muscle of our faith.  It’s an opportunity to choose love over hate.

If the followers of Jesus will not respond in love, who will?  If faith, hope and love do not mark the character of the church, what will?  And if now is not the time to respond in love and to exercise this faith, then when?

When I was younger, I never imagined that I would bring three children into the world and send them to school next to a mosque.  I didn’t know that I would live in Europe among Muslim immigrants.  If my faith in Jesus Christ is real, than I can love – when I’m tempted to fear…when I doubt the intentions of the Muslims who know where we live.  It is still a choice to love when I invite women into my home, when I encourage friendships between my daughters and their immigrant friends, and when I pass my newborn baby to my neighbors to hold and play with.

Every day holds new opportunities for all of us – in the US as well as here in Europe – to exercise our muscles of faith.  Let’s choose to love, dear friends.

Choose to love.

Article by: An Alliance worker serving in Europe.

Jen Vogel

Jen Vogel

Jen is the national director for Alliance Women; she serves in a variety of ministry capacities, including on the President's Cabinet for The Alliance. She enjoys reading, travel, and completing the New York Times crossword puzzle daily. Jen and her husband, Doug, attend Dover Avenue Alliance Church in Orange City, Iowa.

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