1 Corinthians 13:13, "Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love."
We are officially four days away from my least favorite day of the year.
For myself and many other "single" people out there, Valentine's Day isn't something we generally look forward to with happiness in our hearts. Most of the time, it's a day where our "single" state is brought to light all the more. I don't know about you, but I see the decorations in the store, the commercials on television, and all the other reminders about this holiday, and I want to retreat somewhere that I won't have to deal with all of it. Valentine's Day comes around, and I like to find some chick flicks, curl up in a blanket on the couch, and drown my sorrows in a box of chocolate.
Today, what stirred in my heart was the one simple phrase we find at the end of 1 Corinthians 13: "...and the greatest of these is love." Out of all the things that could rate as most important, love made the top of the list.
Love... it's what we long for. It's what we all so desperately need.
When I thought about love, and I thought about Valentine's Day which our culture has turned into a day for all that lovey-dovey stuff, I couldn't help but think, "Do we perhaps have a messed up perspective on love and what it really means to be loved and express love?"
All throughout the Bible (especially in the New Testament), we find verses that talk about love. There are verses about how husbands and wives should love each other. There are other verses that talk about God's love. Some verses even tell us to love our enemies. So many different aspects of love are talked about throughout Scripture, but we find the greatest form of love is this: "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13.
The question I had to ask myself today was, "If love made the top of the list for being the greatest, why do I despise the holiday our culture has chosen to represent it?"
As I pondered this question, I realized my problem came because I wasn't looking for someone to love... I was looking for someone to come along who would love me.
So desperately I long to be pursued, wanted, cherished, and adored... but who am I loving? Who am I truly loving?
When I think about all the verses I've read about love, I realize that none of them tell us to go out and find someone to love us. Every verse I've ever read in the Bible pertaining to love tells me to go out and be the one loving others because God first loved me.
It's so easy for my flesh to get wrapped up in the selfish question of "What about me?!?!? Who's going to love me? Who will pursue me?" As I allow myself to get wrapped up in these self-absorbed questions, I no longer have the strength to give love away to others.
Sometimes it feels like we have nothing left to give because we're so thirsty for love. What I realize, though, is that I don't love others in my own strength. I love them because God first loved me. (See 1 John 4:19).
A new question has come to my mind... If I stopped focusing on getting someone to love me and I began focusing on loving others every day, would I hate Valentine's Day as much as I do? If I focused on loving others as much as I desire them to love me, what would be the result of that?
If you are a Valentine's Day hater, I encourage you to join me in seeing it through a new perspective this year. Instead of trying to focus all our attention on being loved, lets focus on loving others as God has loved us. What a difference it'll make!
Dear Heavenly Father,
All too often I forget that I was told to go out and love others as You love me... I wasn't told to go out and get other people to love me as You love me. Help me, Lord, to be loving other people. I know that I cannot out-give You and that as I give love away to others, You will take care of me. You've already loved me so perfectly, and I am able to love because You loved me first. Thank You for Your perfect love. In Jesus' Name.