Thursday, February 14, 2013

TRUE LOVE



February 14 is a day that our culture sets aside to celebrate and exhibit love. But strangely enough we seem to have forgotten that the root and the source of that love is God. "We love because HE first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

We whittle love down to something we can wrap our minds around and easily do...sign a card, pick up a box of candy, prepare a meal or swipe a credit card at a fancy restaurant. We pack our love energy into one specific day each year and try to show our love through thoughtful gestures and kind words.

These things are great, I'm not belittling them. I'm just pointing out that unless we KNOW love ("God is love" I John 4:8b), unless we have been radically CHANGED by love ("In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him" I John 4:9), and unless we draw our love-giving energy from that SOURCE alone ("Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" I John 4:11), our efforts on Valentine's Day may be short-lived.

God holds TRUE LOVE up to a much higher standard than anything you can pick up at a store: "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers" (I John 4:16).

Lord, help us today (and everyday!) to exhibit true, sacrificial, God-honoring, Christ-focused love to each person you place in our lives.

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (I Corinthians 13:4-7).

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