Urban Dictionary’s definition of valentine’s day is this; “Holiday maliciously created to make lonely people extremely depressed.” And you know what guys, that just makes me really sad. It makes me sad, because I don’t think that is what Valentine’s Day is about at all. I don’t think it is about single people. Nor do I think it is about married people. I don’t think it is about engaged people, or those who are dating. I think Valentine’s day is for all people, because I would like to think that the heart of Valentine’s Day is not relationships, but that the heart of Valentine’s Day is love itself. A day where the whole world acknowledges and is intentional about the way that we love.
However, we cannot change the way that the world thinks. Well, I guess we can because we the people make up the world. But my point is that we do not have to go parading around telling the world to not have such a shallow view of Valentine’s day. Instead of spending our time trying to change the world, let’s just look inside of our own individual hearts and change our heart to get off the Valentine’s Day Sucks campaign and make our heart align with the word of God. The truth is, as a Christian, a day focused on love should be the day that the church and the people who follow Jesus THRIVE – regardless of your dating status.
In Matthew 22 the Pharisees put their heads together to try to ask Jesus a question that would stump him. One of them who was an expert in the law decided to test Jesus with the question, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” I want us to look at what Jesus said, because I am sure that the last thing this expert was thinking Jesus would say as the greatest of all the commandments would be to love.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).
If I were to start a new campaign slogan for valentine’s day it would be those words right there listed as the second greatest command – love your neighbor as yourself today. Give your neighbor chocolate, give your neighbor a hug, give your neighbor a letter, show your neighbor you appreciate them, bring your neighbor dinner, and know that by loving your neighbor you’re fulfilling your purpose. Also, it does not actually have to be your next door neighbor – just show love to a friend. And as you start living out your purpose you yourself will start feeling more loved. As you love others you may just also fall in love with who you are, too. What a better day you would have fulfilling purpose, giving love, and receiving love instead of wallowing in the fact that you’re single or the teddy bear your husband got you was not as big as the one you saw on Instagram.
A big thing I see people talking about in religious Christianity is that people fear they are not doing enough for God. That they are not reading their bible enough, giving enough, singing enough, praying enough and so on. The truth is God’s love is not measured on what you can do for him. But if we did look at it as a measure I want you to see that beyond anything you can do for God what He ultimately desires of you is that you have love in your heart – for him and for others. Let’s read in 1 Corinthians 13:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
These words have pierced my soul many times, “If I don’t have love then I am nothing. If I don’t have love I gain nothing.” I do wonder sometimes if the reason we struggle so much as a generation not knowing our purpose and not feeling fulfilled is because we bypass the very thing that would give us our identity and worth, love itself. Christians, you could feed the poor, you could prophecy over thousands, you could have wisdom beyond anyone you know, and you could even have faith big enough that it would move a mountain, but it is nothing without love.
So now that you are challenged and maybe even convicted by the lack of love you have had in your heart you may be wondering where to from here. Well below is a guide for you on how to love well from 1st Corinthians 13. But even the guide could feel overwhelming as you wonder how in your humanity you could muster up the love we have been called to. I want you to know that you by yourself cannot do this perfectly. 1st John 4 tells us that God is love. As you read this description of love instead of reading it as a guide for what you need to be let it be a description of who God is to you. You have to know that the perfect form of this love is who God is. The beauty of it all is that the only way to follow the commands of God is learn from God.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Go out and LOVE today. Find your identity and purpose in that love today. If you don’t know where to start, I wanted to give y’all a practical way you can love today.
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And for more information on this cause, visit A21.org.
May we live in a world where men, women, and children are no longer exploited for their bodies. A world where we are all free. Thank you for making your imprint – one that is helping fight to see the end of modern day slavery.