With tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, I can only anticipate the myriad of emotions that people will express along with it. These emotions seem to be most loudly voiced through social media, whether it’s in the form of an Instagram picture of a romantic dinner or a facebook rant on how stupid this so-called “holiday” is to begin with. Whether you’ll be celebrating stereotypically with your significant other, with a group of single friends, or not at all, one thing is for certain: you can love this day or you can hate it, but you can’t ignore it altogether.
If there’s one thing that’s totally predictable about my Valentine’s Day from year to year, it’s what I will see when I log onto twitter or Facebook.
“God is love!”
“[insert some selected portion of 1 Corinthians 13 here]”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I feel incredibly blessed to be close to so many people that know and love the Lord and recognize that love in the purest, truest sense comes from Jesus Christ. Last year, I blogged on Valentine’s Day about this very kind of love, and my heart was heavy for the people suffering through the loss of a loved one and those whose loneliness is only magnified on a day that recognizes the beautiful gift of love and companionship. I ended that post with a call to be mindful of those kinds of people; to step outside of ourselves and love on hurting people. But truthfully, I did very little about the conviction in my heart. I did not go out of my way to love people better. I did not humble myself and serve someone else. Instead, I sat typically and selfishly wondering if I’d ever share Valentine’s Day with a spouse, if I’d ever be loved the way I’ve always dreamt of being loved. I did something I do too well – I made the day about me.
This month, the Lord has constantly reminded me of the way He loves me through His people. These reminders humble me and leave me wholly overwhelmed. I have been shown love by friends and family and even strangers that have brought meals, prayed, hugged and given of themselves for my benefit – because they love me well. Yet I’m also reminded that love – even from the most well-intentioned human being – can be fickle and polluted with sin.
But then I think of the way Jesus loves me. He hears the words I speak in anger, but He loves me anyway. He knows my ulterior motives, my sinful thoughts, and the pride that’s rooted deeply in my heart, but He loves me anyway. He called me, He chose me, He adopted me. On the days I don’t walk with Him, He never leaves my side. On the days I don’t speak to him, He speaks to me through His word. When I don’t seek Him, He still pursues me. His love shows me the way I am to love others, and fills me when I feel I have nothing left to give. His love is not dependent on the condition of my heart or the condition of my home. It’s a love that is completely independent of me – already established, already proven. It’s a love that my sinful mind can only comprehend in part, yet my heart receives in full. It’s unconditional, unrestrictive, constant and consistent. He loves me. He loves me. He loves me. And He’s made up His mind about it. And He loves you just the same – just as you are.
Tears pool as I dwell on the way He so freely extends His love and the way I can be so stingy with mine. Friends, we have been given the greatest gift, the greatest news and the greatest love. I pray that we would never value our own love, resources, and time as more important than sharing the news of this wonderful gift with others.
I see no better day than Valentine’s Day – a day solely focused on love – to share the love of Jesus to a hurting, broken world.
So today, I want to encourage you to take the time to really dwell on the love the Father has for you. To recognize how completely undeserving we are of His grace and how much He delights in giving it to us anyway. I pray that He would stir in you the same conviction that He’s been stirring in me all week, which is a conviction to act, a conviction to do. James chapter 1 cautions believers against being hearers of the Word only and not doers. I want to be a doer. I want to act, and I want you to join me!
So I end this post not with a call to be mindful of hurting people in need of love, but a call to action. A call to rise up, to seek out someone in need of the truth, and give them a tangible picture of love. Maybe it’s a handwritten letter. Maybe it’s making a meal for a family suffering the loss of a loved one. Maybe it’s taking flowers to a widow, or baking cookies for a neighbor. Perhaps love looks like buying Starbucks for the person behind you or taking a gift to your child’s teacher. Pray for someone and let them know they’re on your heart. Remind someone of just how deeply they are loved by you, and how the Father loves them immensely more.
Serving and loving others is so much more than just a box to be checked off a list or doing an act of kindness in order to give ourselves a mental pat on the back. It’s a commandment. It’s a joy. I’m convinced that when we become His hands and feet, we become closer to His heart.
I understand this is an interesting plea. It may feel a little strange and it could be a little uncomfortable, but I imagine death on a cross to be uncomfortable as well. I believe that if the King of Kings can hang from a tree so that we might know His love for us, we can step outside of our comfort zones so that others might know it as well. If perfect palms can be pierced to purchase our salvation, surely we can outstretch ours to serve someone in need. We have been loved so extravagantly, and my heart longs for this to be a day where we proclaim truth to a world that so desperately needs to hear it. Because at the end of time, our feelings about Valentine’s Day and the way that we celebrate it won’t matter. We wont be known for the things we blogged about or shared on Facebook, but HE will be known by the way we loved. (John 13:35)
I’d love for as many people as possible to join me on this mission! If you’d be so kind as to share this post (or a link to it), I would greatly appreciate it! And lastly, I’d love for you to leave a comment down below telling me how you shared the love of Jesus this Valentine’s Day!
(Please forgive the jumbled disorder of this post! I wanted to publish it as soon as I finished it, so editing was bypassed 🙂