St. Valentine’s Day, or simply, Valentine’s Day, is forever associated with love. Choosing a Valentine’s Day card; picking out a gift; taking your beloved out for dinner; are all activities we associate with the holiday. But what kind of love does God have for us? Wendy has some ideas to reflect upon.
The kind of love that’s usually celebrated on Valentine’s Day is the romantic kind.
Ah, yes, this brings to mind a painting my mother did on the wall of my childhood bedroom. But before I describe this mural, I want to talk about a type of love that surpasses the romantically-ever-after kind found in most Fairy Tales (Yes that was a direct hint about the painting.).
God’s Love is Agape Love
I’d like to talk about Agape love. It’s the widest, longest, deepest, and highest of all loves. It’s God’s love for us. We don’t deserve it; we can’t earn it; we can’t lose it. God is love. He is love so much so that He sent His one and only Son to pay the penalty of our sin so we could be saved and dwell with Him–forever. All we need to do is acknowledge our sin, turn from it, and trust in Jesus. His atoning sacrifice was a once and forever finished event. It was the biggest act of love ever bestowed on anyone and for everyone who will believe.
Romans 10:9 (NIV) puts it this way:
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
John 13:35 says those who are saved will be recognizable by their love for one another.
Hmm, I must admit I don’t always witness love between Christians. In fact, many years ago, I witnessed the splitting of a church. It worked out well because there ended up being two churches instead of one in that particular city. And since the new church was built on the opposite side of town, it meant many folk didn’t have to drive as far.
But it hurt to see the hurt that happened.
It taught me it doesn’t pay to be stubborn, and it doesn’t pay to sweat the nonessentials of Christian doctrine either. I’ve decided to agree to disagree with gentleness and respect (We’d be wise to wield this wisdom with regards to politics too—enough said.).
Love. Matters. Most.
Loving Despite Differences
But … how does one love despite differences? How does one tap into agape love?
- First, of course, one must believe and be born again.
- Secondly, we must follow the examples and words Jesus left for us in the Bible.
Recently, I noticed something in the Scriptures I hadn’t paid but a pittance of attention to before. Listen to these words from John chapter 13 verses 3-4 (NIV):
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
As most of you probably already know, Jesus went on to wash his disciples’ feet. He even washed the feet of the one He knew would betray Him—Judas Iscariot.
Did you notice the words: “Jesus knew?” He knew. He knew God had placed everything under His power. He knew who His Father was. He knew He was from God and was returning to God.
His knowing enabled His bestowing of His Father’s will. And what was the Father’s will?
John 3:16 was God’s will. Here it is:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Do You Know Jesus?
Do you know? Do you know Jesus? Have you accepted His invitation? Have you trusted in His atoning sacrifice and do you believe He rose from the dead and will return to bring all believers to dwell with Him?
If your answer is yes, then you are already tapped into agape love. You can do as Jesus did; you can remember whose you are. Your life was formed in full view of the God who knew you would one day choose Him, because He chose you.
We who have believed can discard any robes of pride and pretense. We know… so we can go… and wash the feet of our brothers, sisters … and enemies.
Oh, dear Lord, forgive us for all those times we’ve refused to wrap the humble towel of service around our waists. Forgive us, dear Lord, for wasting opportunities to obey.
And now I want to return to the wall of my childhood bedroom where my talented artist mother painted an enormous mural of a handsome king’s son waltzing with a lovely lady. Can you guess who they were? It was a life-size portrait of Cinderella and Prince Charming dancing together at the royal ball.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is my Prince Charming. He has dressed me in a gown of His glorious righteousness; I had none on my own—only rags. If it were not for the blood of Jesus, I’d be caught, as Cinderella was, imperfectly dressed at the stroke of Christ’s soon return. He makes me dance in white with the words I love to pen each morning in my journal. He makes me dance with delight in my spirit when I see the Light of His love displayed in the Word of God.
St. Valentine’s Day and God’s Love Notes
This Valentine’s Day, if you haven’t already, read some of the love notes God has written for you in your Bible. Then, recite or write your own words of love back to Him.
Happy Valentine’s Day… God is love.
Wendy L. Macdonald
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Images courtesy of:
Couple in Love – oixauvoltei
Hands – Unsplash
Conflict – RyanMcGuire
Jesus Washes Feet – falco
Cinderella & Prince Charming Pumpkins – Sylvia_1