How do you show love?
Valentine’s Day is often considered a secular holiday, although it is named after St. Valentine. His story, however, is anything but romantic. Little is known about his life, but it is commonly accepted that he was arrested for defying Roman laws and aiding Christians in many ways, including secretly marrying Christian couples. He is thought to have been brutally executed by Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II) on February 14, sometime during the third-century, after he refused to denounce his faith in the Lord.
On the day named after him, many people could not tell you who St. Valentine is or what he did. In a day that is about celebrating love, many will show their love in shallow ways - through gifts and fancy dinners. They fail to remember that love is easy to show when times are well. Real love, unwavering love is shown during difficult times. It is shown through sacrifice and the willingness to experience sacrifice because of that love. It is the love St. Valentine had for his Lord. It is the love our Lord has for His children.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)
No greater love has been shown throughout history than the love that God has shown for His children. Throughout the Old Testament, God repeatedly showed His love by sparing the Israelites, forgiving them for wandering from Him, and giving them another chance (and another and another and another…). In the New Testament, God showed His love in an entirely new way - He sent us His Son, His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth, as a man, to die for us.
Who are you willing to die for? Why would you be willing to die for them? God’s love for us was so powerful that He was willing to sacrifice His Son, in order for us to, once again, be able to walk side by side with Him. God’s love has been a constant throughout history; and will remain a constant in the future. For He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, ESV)
Valentine’s Day is just that, a single day. But God shows His love to us everyday! Our very salvation came through love! As Christians, we are to emulate His example and show our love everyday! In order to show that love, we must understand what love is.
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]… And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.(1 Corinthians 3:4-8a, 13, AMP)
The Apostle Paul beautifully describes love. His description comes from his life experience; his personal experience of receiving God’s love. It can be easy to forget that this man began his life by persecuting Christians - by advocating for their deaths! Until the day he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul experienced the perfect, wholesome, unconditional love of God. Through God’s love, Paul’s life was completely changed, becoming a leading figure in the early church, and writing the message we are studying today!