Choices Of The Heart

By Steven Merten

Copyright 1990
All biblical quotes are from the New American Bible.
All bolding, color and underlining of scriptural quotes have been added.
Jesus' words are in red. Bible Abbreviations

Scripture tells us that we are created in God's own image. This scripture could be indicating that our physical appearance is similar to God's. This is only a guess. However, we know for a fact that we have emotions similar to God's. When you read the bible you will see God's emotions of rejoicing, pain, hurt, anger, compassion and love. As God loves us, so are we fully capable of giving love. Man's emotions are definitely shadowed in God's image.

God created all the universe. God then handed the earth over to Adam and Eve to have dominion over it. God loves male and female man and He fulfilled every need that man had. God gave man cool streams and majestic mountains, food and water, warmth and protection. God also gave man a body that it should have continuous life.

NAB GEN 1:27

God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them saying: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth. God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened.

NAB WIS 2:23

For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.

Then God put the tree of knowledge into the Garden of Eden where man lived. God commanded man not to eat from this tree or he will certainly die. God gave man the power of choice to choose whether or not he will obey the command of God. Some people think that this is God being cruel to man. Some people simply deny the Word of God by rationalizing that it would be to hateful for our loving God to put an avenue of death and damnation within man's reach. These people simply do not understand the tremendous opportunity bestowed to man, when God places the tree of knowledge into the Garden of Eden. The positive opportunity, which God placed within man's grasp, greatly outweighs the negative risks to man.

Moses and Jesus tell us that the most important thing for us to do is to love the Lord our God. We are to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. Well, how do we love God?

Is it possible to be kind to your fellow man if you do not possess the capability to choose not to be kind to your fellow man? Can a person be a giving person if they do not have the option to choose not to give? A man can only obey in a situation where he has the option to disobey. You can only choose to be kind provided you have the option to choose not to be kind. You cannot love unless you have the option to choose not to love.

God gave Jonah the Word of God and commanded him to go and preach it to the Ninevehites (JON). Jonah got into a boat and went directly one hundred and eighty degrees in the opposite direction of Nineveh. Why? The people of Nineveh killed prophets, and God had commanded Jonah to go directly to them and prophesy. Jonah being of the power of free will chose not the will of God and did not go.

God commanded the waves to rise up and shake Jonah's boat. The waves did as God had commanded them. The storm did not rise up out of love for God. No! The waves had no other option than to obey the will of God. Jonah was thrown overboard and God commanded a fish to swallow him up. The fish did not argue against or otherwise oppose the command of God. The fish did not swim off one hundred and eighty degrees in the opposite direction from that which God commanded him to swim. The fish had no free will and therefore no other option than to do what God had commanded. God does not allow a fish to hate Him in disobedience in any way; nor can a fish love God. The fish came to Jonah and swallowed him up. Then upon the command of God the fish spit Jonah out on shore. Jonah of free will converted and chose to love God. Fish and storms can choose no other option than the will of God. Without the option to choose not to do God's will, fish and storms can never love God.

NAB JER 18:14

Does the snow of Lebanon desert the rocky heights?
Do the gushing waters dry up
that flow fresh down the mountains?
Yet my people have forgotten me:
they burn incense to a thing that does not exist.
They stumble out their ways,
the paths of old,
To travel on bypaths,
not the beaten track.
God did not try to tempt Adam by giving Adam the power of choice. The only way we can love God is through the power of free will choice. With the option to choose between obedience or disobedience to God's will, man now has the capability to love God. God gave Adam the tremendous opportunity to offer love, from his heart, to God. Trust, obedience and faithfulness were Adam's tools of sharing love with God. Upon man receiving free will toward the command of God, now, not only does God love man, but man can fulfill his purpose in life and love God in return.

NAB2 1JO 5:3

For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,

NAB2 JOH 14:15

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
If there is a way to bring love for God into existence without free will, then why did our loving God allow free will? Murder, the holocaust, abortion, all atrocities, death and damnation all flow out from man's free will. God initiated man's free will and God can end man's free will at any time. If there is a way to love God without putting man in danger of damnation, why did our loving God put man in danger of damnation by allowing him free will?

God cannot force love for God into existence through His Immense Power. Love, by its very nature, must be freely given from one being to another. Love for God emanates through the power of free willed human choices to obey God. The only thing in the universe worth allowing hatred, sin and damnation for, is Love! God allows human free willed hatred in order to make human free willed love for God possible.

Free from the will of God, obedience to the will of God, is love for God. The Ten Commandments are God's instructions on how love for God is accomplished. The reason God does not force men to act as He commands is so that man can love God through choosing to do as God commands. Free will toward the commandments of God gives us the tremendous opportunity to love God.

NAB DEU 11:1

Love the LORD, your God, therefore, and always heed his charge: his statutes, decrees and commandments."

NAB ROM 13:10

Love never wrongs the neighbor, hence love is the fulfillment of the law.

NAB2 JOH 14:23

Jesus answered and said to him, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

NAB JOH 15:9

"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Live on in my love. You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and live in his love. All this I tell you that my joy may be yours and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you."

NAB 1JO 2:5

But whoever keeps his word, truly has the love of God been made perfect in him. The way we can be sure we are in union with him is for the man who claims to abide in him to conduct himself just as he did.

NAB 2JO 1:5

But now, my Lady, I would make this request of you (not as if I were writing you some new commandment; rather, it is a commandment we have had from the start): let us love one another. This love involves our walking according to the commandments, and as you have heard from the beginning, the commandment is the way in which you should walk.

NAB 1JO 3:23

His commandment is this: we are to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and are to love one another as he commanded us.

NAB DEU 11:22

"For if you are careful to observe all these commandments I enjoin on you, loving the LORD, your God, and following his ways exactly, and holding fast to him, . . . . "

God uses gem stones and gold to describe how precious Adam and Eve were to Him, when they loved Him, through perfect obedience, before they sinned. To sin is to hate God. God was very hurt when Adam and Eve turned their hearts from love for God, through obedience to God, to hatred for God through disobedience to God.

NAB EZE 28:13

In Eden, the garden of God, you were, and every precious stone was your covering (carnelian, topaz, and beryl, chrysolite, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, garnet, and emerald); Of gold your pendants and jewels were made, on the day you were created. With the Cherub I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God, walking among the fiery stones. Blameless you were in your conduct from the day you were created, Until evil was found in you, the result of your far-flung trade; violence was your business, and you sinned. Then I banned you from the mountain of God; the Cherub drove you from among the fiery stones.
The way that man hates Jesus, the Father and fellow man is through disobedience to Jesus and the Father's commandments and precepts. In the following scripture you will see how choices to hate God are choices to disobey the commandments.

NAB JOH 15:22

"If I had not come to them and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; now, however, their sin cannot be excused. To hate me is to hate my Father. Had I not performed such works among them as no one has ever done before, they would not be guilty of sin; but as it is, they have seen, and they go on hating me and my Father."

NAB SIR 28:7

Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor;


". . . you shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishments for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation but bestowing mercy, down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments."

NAB 1JO 3:15

Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that eternal life abides in no murderer's heart.

NAB DEU 19:11

"However, if someone lies in wait for his neighbor out of hatred for him, and rising up against him, strikes him mortally, and then takes refuge in one of these cities, . . . ."

NAB EXO 20:5

". . . you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments."

NAB ROM 1:25

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

NAB 2CH 19:2

Jehu the seer, son of Hanani, met King Jehoshaphat and said to him: "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD?"

NAB MAT 24:12

"Because of the increase of evil, the love of most will grow cold."


"Understand, then, that the LORD, your God, is God indeed, the faithful God who keeps his merciful covenant down to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments, but who repays with destruction the person who hates him; he does not dally with such a one, but makes him personally pay for it. You shall therefore carefully observe the commandments, the statutes and decrees which I enjoin on you today."
Some people say that God chooses at random who lives eternally and who goes to hell. God does not choose who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. God judges, by the man's own choices, which man has chosen love and life, and which have chosen hate, death and damnation.

NAB GEN 2:16

The LORD God gave man this order: "You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."

NAB DEU 30:19

"I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him."

NAB MAT 7:12

" . . . treat others the way you would have them treat you: this sums up the law and the prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to damnation is wide, the road is clear, and many choose to travel it. But how narrow is the gate that leads to life, how rough the road, and how few there are who find it!"

NAB SIR 21:10 Sin Must Be Avoided.

The path of sinners is smooth stones that end in the depths of the nether world.

NAB DEU 30:15 The Choice before Israel.

"Here then, I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy."

NAB SIR 15:11 Man's Free Will.

Say not: "It was God's doing that I fell away"; for what he hates he does not do. Say not: "It was he who set me astray"; for he has no need of wicked man. Abominable wickedness the LORD hates, he does not let it befall those who fear him. When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice. If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will. There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him.

NAB AMO 5:14

Seek good and not evil, that you may live; Then truly will the LORD, the God of hosts, be with you as you claim!

NAB DEU 11:26 A Blessing and a Curse.

"I set before you here, this day, a blessing and a curse: a blessing for obeying the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today; a curse if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, but turn aside from the way I ordain for you today, to follow other gods, whom you have not known."

NAB 2KI 18:32

". . . until I come to take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and wine, of bread and orchards, of olives, oil and fruit syrup. Choose life, not death."

NAB HEB 12:14 Penalties of Disobedience.

Strive for peace with all men, and for that holiness without which no one can see the Lord. See to it that no man falls away from the grace of God; that no bitter root springs up through which many may become defiled; that there be among you no fornicator or godless person like Esau, who sold his birthright for a meal. You know that afterward he wanted to inherit his father's blessing, but he was rejected because he had no opportunity to alter his choice, even though he sought the blessing with tears. (ISA 1:19 PRO 18:21)
It is man who makes the choices. Everyone has free will and can choose to love God. Anyone can choose to be His friend. However, not all choose the love of obedience for God. On judgment day Christ will judge who have loved God and who have not loved Him. It is not the choices of Christ that condemn men to hell but Christ who judges the choices of the hearts of men and their own choices which will condemn them to hell.

NAB JOH 12:47

"If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I am not the one to condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save it. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words already has his judge, namely, the word I have spoken - it is that which will condemn him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own; no, the Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to speak. Since I know that his commandment means eternal life, whatever I say is spoken just as he instructed me."

NAB JOH 5:27

"The Father has given over to him power to pass judgment because he is Son of Man; no need for you to be surprised at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in their tombs shall hear his voice and come forth. Those who have done right shall rise to live; the evildoers shall rise to be damned."
NAB MAT 25:46
"These will go off to eternal punishment and the just to eternal life."

NAB REV 22:12

"Remember, I am coming soon! I bring with me the reward that will be given to each man as his conduct deserves. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End! Happy are they who wash their robes so as to have free access to the tree of life and enter the city through its gates Outside are the dogs and sorcerers, the fornicators and murderers, the idol-worshipers and all who love falsehood."

NAB 2PE 2:9

The Lord, indeed, knows how to rescue the devout men from trial, and how to continue the punishment of the wicked up to the day of judgment.

NAB REV 11:17

"We praise you, the Lord God Almighty, who is and who was. You have assumed your great power, you have begun your reign. The nations have raged in anger, but then came your day of wrath and the moment to judge the dead: The time to reward your servants the prophets and the holy ones who revere you, the great and the small alike; The time to destroy those who lay the earth to waste." (EZE 36:19)
Heaven is a place for those who love. God will take His people who choose to love Him and bond them to Him for all existence. Those who hate God while on earth will have no place in God's Kingdom and will be cut off and destroyed. Through obedience on earth, man creates the love he will share with God for all eternity. The following scripture illustrates how hate and love are man's choices of eternal death or eternal life.


I prayed: "O LORD, God of heaven, great and awesome God, you who preserve your covenant of mercy toward those who love you and keep your commandments, . . . ."

NAB JOH 15:9

"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Live on in my love. You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and live in his love."

NAB REV 2:22

"I mean to cast her down on a bed of pain; her companions in sin I will plunge into intense suffering unless they repent of their sins with her, and her children I will put to death. Thus shall all the churches come to know that I am the searcher of hearts and minds, and that I will give each of you what your conduct deserves."

NAB PSA 103:17

But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity to eternity toward those who fear him, And his justice toward children's children among those who keep his covenant and remember to fulfill his precepts.

NAB JOH 14:21

"He who obeys the commandments he has from me is the man who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father. I too will love him and reveal myself to him."

NAB SIR 34:16

The eyes of the LORD are upon those who love him; he is their mighty shield and strong support, A shelter from the heat, a shade from the noonday sun, a guard against stumbling, a help against falling. He buoys up the spirits, brings a sparkle to the eyes, gives health and life and blessing.

NAB PSA 37:28

For the LORD loves what is right, and forsakes not his faithful ones. Criminals are destroyed, and the posterity of the wicked is cut off. The just shall possess the land and dwell in it forever.


. . . when he will repay every man for what he has done: eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor, and immortality by patiently doing right; wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. Yes, affliction and anguish will come upon every man who has done evil, the Jew first then the Greek. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who has done good, likewise the Jew first, then the Greek.

NAB 1CO 2:9

Of this wisdom it is written: "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him." (ISA 64:3)

NAB REV 2:26

"To the one who wins the victory, who keeps to my ways till the end, I will give authority over the nations - the same authority I received from my Father. He shall rule them with a rod of iron and shatter them like crockery; and I will give him the morning star."

NAB 1JO 2:15

Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love has no place in him, for nothing that the world affords comes from the Father. Carnal allurements, enticements for the eye, the life of empty show all these are from the world. And the world with its seductions is passing away but the man who does God's will endures forever.

NAB DEU 7:12

"As your reward for heeding these decrees and observing them carefully, the LORD, your God, will keep with you the merciful covenant which he promised on oath to your fathers. He will love and bless and multiply you; he will bless the fruit of your womb and the produce of your soil, your grain and wine and oil, the issue of your herds and the young of your flocks, in the land which he swore to your fathers he would give you."

NAB PSA 97:10

The LORD loves those that hate evil; he guards the lives of his faithful ones; from the hand of the wicked he delivers them. Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart. Be glad in the LORD, you just, and give thanks to his holy name.

NAB 1JO 3:10

That is the way to see who are God's children, and who are the devil's. No one whose actions are unholy belongs to God, nor anyone who fails to love his brother.

NAB 1CO 16:22

If anyone does not love the Lord, let a curse be upon him. O Lord, come!

NAB DEU 7:10

" . . . but who repays with destruction the person who hates him; . . . . "

NAB TOB 13:14

Happy are those who love you, and happy those who rejoice in your prosperity. Happy are all the men who shall grieve over you, over all your chastisements, For they shall rejoice in you as they behold all your joy forever.
Other References Of Man's Choices Of Life Through Obedient Love
DEU 32:46 PSA 119:93 PSA 119:114 PSA 119:144 PSA 119:156
PSA 119:159 PRO 4:4 PRO 4:23 PRO 7:2 PRO 8:36
PRO 11:19 PRO 11:30 PRO 12:28 PRO 14:27 PRO 14:30
PRO 19:16 PRO 22:4 PRO 22:11 ECC 9:1 EZE 20:11
PSA 49

It is through the mind of man that love for God and fellow man is accomplished or failed. God has told us in scripture what hate and love are and He has commanded us not to hate. Out of man's free willed heart emerge choices love and life through obedience; or hate, impurity and death through disobedience.

NAB MAR 7:18

"Do you not see that nothing that enters a man from outside can make him impure? It does not penetrate his being, but enters his stomach only and passes into the latrine." Thus did he render all foods clean. He went on: "What emerges from within a man, that and nothing else is what makes him impure. Wicked designs come from the deep recesses of the heart: acts of fornication, theft, murder, adulterous conduct, greed, maliciousness, deceit, sensuality, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, an obtuse spirit. All these evils come from within and render a man impure."

NAB SIR 37:17

The root of all conduct is the mind; four branches it shoots forth: Good and evil, death and life, their absolute mistress is the tongue.

NAB LUK 6:45

"A good man produces goodness from the good in his heart; an evil man produces evil out of his store of evil. Each man speaks from his heart's abundance."

NAB MAT 15:17

"Do you not see that everything that enters the mouth passes into the stomach and is discharged into the latrine, but what comes out of the mouth originates in the mind? It is things like these that make a man impure. From the mind stem evil designs - murder, adulterous conduct, fornication, stealing, false witness, blasphemy. These are the things that make a man impure. As for eating with unwashed hands - that makes no man impure."
Choices! We have so many choices in our life. Not only do we have choices to love but we must choose how much we will love or how much we will hate. God has allowed us to choose how much we will hate or how much we will love. Not only are we allowed to choose whether or not we oppose abortion, we must also choose to what extent we will oppose abortion. Or we must choose to what extent we will refuse to oppose abortion. Not only do we choose whether or not we will oppose fornication and divorce but we also choose to what extent we will oppose fornication and divorce.

Many situations need different decisions on what to do. While you are in this world and in the possession of free will, use it wisely. Use the opportunity of free will to choose not your own will but the Father's will. Make the right choices and choose to love God over choosing your own desires. Keep holy the Ten Commandments of God and all His wills. It is men's choices, which will determine their own fate. Choose the choices that God will recognize, as gifts of love for Him, which will last for all eternity.

Love, by its very nature, must be freely given from one being to another. It is the choices of love for God, which we create under free will, that God is incapable of creating Himself. These human choices to share love with God are the gifts of love that God created the universe for and sacrificed His only son to retrieve. The choices to do God's will under free will are the most precious gifts to God in all the created heaven and earth. Those who are fruitful and bear such gifts will be exalted and brought through Christ's blood into God's Kingdom. In the Kingdom, God will remain faithful to those who love Him for all eternity. God has set before baptized men life and death, therefore choose to love God and live.

Continue To
Jesus Loves God

Thank you for visiting

author Steven Merten