Ultimate valentine comes from God

By Debra Whittington: QCS columnist

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God towards us because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. We love him, because he first loved us” (I John 4:8-10, 19).

January is gone and we turn our eyes to February, known for a holiday that is hearts and flowers and talk of love. At our church, plans are already underway for a valentine’s banquet. In the stores, displays of merchandise promote the holiday. Popular songs are full of words of love (“love is in the air,” “all you need is love” and on and on).

Hearts and flowers abound during the month of February as love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and the thoughts of many turns to love.

What exactly is love anyway? There are many types of love from loving chocolate to my favorite of all, agape love which is the pure form of God’s great and unconditional love for us. How much do we know about love other than feelings, which are sometimes unreliable?

I’ve seen T-shirts that claim “All I ever knew about (subject), I learned from (whatever). This statement got me to thinking about love and where I learned about it. We say we learned about love from parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, pets, etc., but I think we should stop and ponder where they learned about the subject.

“All that I ever knew about love, I learned from the Lord.” That is a statement all of us should be able to make, but not all can. In Deuteronomy 6:5, we are commanded to love the Lord with all our hearts and soul and might. Although this may sound like a tall order, it is an achievable goal because, as the Apostle John reminds us in the book of I John, God loved us first.

Wow! What a profound concept. Before we were even created, even before the world was created, God loved each and every one of us. He knew each one of us and loved us as only a father could. In fact, He loved us so much that He was willing to send His only son to die for our sins so that we could someday spend eternity with Him in heaven. If that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is.

With a love like that, we have all the love in the world. God’s love is the type that makes all other types of love that much more special. From God’s example of love, we are able to love others and ourselves as well.

Receiving agape love from God should inspire us to love others as well. While it is easy to love some people, others can be a bit of a challenge. These little stinkers know how to push our buttons and make us mad and yet we need to love them, too.

Once again Jesus gave the perfect example to follow in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” Again, this is a tall order, which can only be accomplished with God’s help. It is one that I struggle with and imagine others are in the same boat.

Love is more than emotions or the spoken word. Once again the Apostle John instructed us in 1 John 3:18 to love “in deed and truth.” I love my husband, Mark, and know that he loves me. However, it is through his actions of love that I feel it even more. For example, he helps me around the house when I need help. I know that housework is his least favorite thing to do, but he will do it for me to show his love. Like the old saying goes, “action speaks louder than words.”

While different types of love around us make life that much sweeter, it is God’s love that can give us total fulfillment. No matter what the circumstance or where we are, we know that God’s love is always there for us. Jesus not only told us of His great love, He showed it through His actions and His ultimate sacrifice for us. There is nothing more special than the times when God reaches out to us, we feel His arms around us and He tells us, “I love you.”

To me, that is the ultimate valentine.