I came home this week to a box of chocolates and a message that read, “be my valentine.” My wife had beat me to the punch. She had gotten me the first Valentine’s Day gift. She usually does.
If you celebrate the holiday then, like me, you will be making dinner reservations and picking out the perfect flowers. All this is done to express love and show affection to your loved one. It is a true blessing to set aside time to remind others that you care for them.
Still, as we celebrate the day, we must remember first the nature of love as expressed in scripture. It is easy to become lost in the emotion of the holiday and messages our culture while allowing true love to become diluted of its meaning.
The Bible shows love to be the deepest expression of God’s character. For this reason, love holds an important place in the Christian heart. It is the most excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31), the first in the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22), the greatest of all commandments (Matthew 22:37-39), and the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10).
When Christians express a Godly love to others, even their enemies, they are showing themselves to be children of their father in heaven. They are following God’s example. We see the purest example of Christian love in the person of Jesus.
Jesus shows us that love is not simply an emotion but an act of the will. He willingly endured the cross for an undeserving people. It was “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Though it is easy to show kindness to those who love you in return, Jesus shows us that true love is to be given to even those who do not. It is a choice to promote the good of another person regardless of your relationship with them. This is why scripture can command love. Jesus issues this command saying that we are to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34). This, he says, is the defining mark of discipleship.
We are only able to love in a Godly way when we understand ourselves as being objects of such love. He endured the cross on our behalf showing us loves true nature. When this is realized in our lives it awakens a desire to love others in that same way. He pours out his love into our hearts through his spirit and our lives produce fruit that show us to be true disciples. Christians should then show all the elements of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. We are to be patient, kind, and not self-seeking. We are to love in the way that Jesus showed us to.
This Valentine’s Day, and every other day, take some time to show love to your loved one. Remind those closest to you that you care for them. Then remember to love others around you as well. Be kind and compassionate to one another even to those who are not kind and compassionate to you. In doing this we are showing ourselves to be children of the father.