Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All for Love

Valentine’s Day is that wonderful holiday where we express our love to someone near and dear to our heart. It is (thankfully) not a controversial holiday; it’s simply a day when we tell and show our loved ones that we love them. Whether it’s with chocolate, jewelry, a card, a nice dinner, or something that costs us nothing but our time, we devote this day to honoring someone special to us.

There were several Christian martyrs who were known as Valentine centuries ago, but none of them are the author of love; God is. As a matter of fact, love is such a big deal to God that the word “love” is found 686 times in the Bible (New International Version). Many Bible scholars agree that the most powerful usage of that word is found in John 3:16, “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.”

Love began with God. He loved us first, and then to express that love He subsequently “gave”. He gave His only son as a gift to mankind – and all out of love for us. God’s gift of His son to bear our sins was the ultimate act of love; nothing has, or ever will, top that.

I don’t know about you, but I still find it hard to believe that the God of all creation loves us. With all of our sins, faults, and failures, the fact that our heavenly Father would still woo and pursue His people is amazing to me. It’s not enough for God (and it shouldn’t be enough for us) to be saved from an eternity in hell, rather the God of the universe wants to hear from us, and speak to us – regularly – and all because He loves us.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He could have responded with, “Obedience. Obey your Heavenly Father.” Or, He could have said, “Honesty. Be honest with God and those you encounter.” Instead, Jesus responded with, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

In other words, Jesus said to give Him first place in your life. Be sold out to Him every day of the week, all day, and not just Sunday morning.

Our Lord is the epitome of true love. Jesus loved children, He loved the poor, and He loved those whom society loathed, such as the lepers and prostitutes. He even loved those who killed Him, telling His father to “forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Jesus loved the unlovable, and that is exactly what He expects Christians to do, too, through Him. God’s grace enables us to reach out to the down and out. When we give Him first place in our life, He gives us mercy and grace to love others.
Jesus loves you, this I know…the question is, do you love Him?

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21).

In His Love,

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