A whole day devoted to expressions of love.
Valentine’s Day can be filled with excitement, expectation, and joy. But for many, the day is a reminder of unfulfilled longings and unmet expectations. Love is so much bigger than the limitations we put on it.
God has always loved all mankind, particularly cherishing the people in a covenant relationship with Him. Isaiah, who warned the Israelites to turn back to God and of the impending disastrous consequences for them if they did not, recorded God’s words of love for them: “‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isa 54:10 ESV).
In the New Testament, we are assured of God’s love, His desire to have a relationship with us, and His plan to save us through the gift of sending His Son (John 3:16-17; Eph 2:4-7; I John 3:1a; Rom 5:8; John 15:1).
Regardless of whether you feel loved in your earthly relationships, rest assured you are fully known and deeply loved by your Creator.
In turn, God should be the greatest love of our life. Despite what we say, when we get quiet and honest, is our strongest bond to those we love on this Earth? Loving our family and friends is important but can never replace keeping Him as our first love, the One whose wisdom we follow and on whom we rely for comfort and peace.
After loving Him, God places priority on loving others. Mark 12:28-31 says, “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, ‘Which commandment is the most important of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The most important is, Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. ’ “
Jesus also stated, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
Jesus loved boldly. He didn’t worry what others thought. He ate with those considered outcasts and sinners, healed the lame, blind, sick, and lepers, invited the unwelcome to spend time with Him, counted the undesirable as His closest friends, and taught the uneducated and unimportant in society’s eyes. When the religious and political leaders of the day questioned His choices of companions, Jesus consistently chided those who looked down on and believed themselves better than the “sinners”, favoring those who were humble, repentant, and seeking Him, despite their reputation and past choices. In his final hours, he washed the feet of not only his friends, but the one He knew had already betrayed Him. Ultimately, He gave His life for all of the above, including you and me.
Loving like Christ is not loving those we think are worthy. It’s loving the unlovable and unworthy. Because we ALL are.
So, on this Valentine’s Day, whether you are in the situation you hoped to be or not, remember you are loved.
Hug tightly the ones for whom you feel affection.
Thank and honor your first love, the One who created and redeemed you.
Then look around and see who you can love boldly.
Tell the world you belong to Christ through your love. Give God the sacrifice He desires most of all, loving Him and others more than yourself. Shine the light of Jesus so others may come to know Him, remain steadfast in the uphill battles of life, and return to Him when they fall.
Let’s light the path to Heaven to help everyone find it through our love.