February 14 I Monday
Leviticus 15-16 Matthew 27:1-26
“This is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us.” —1 John 3:23
As our culture celebrates Valentine’s Day, we hear the word “love” tossed around a lot, but what exactly is love? By what standard do we describe love? Who determines what is considered loving? How do we formulate the idea of love? Who or what do we look to and say that is loving as an example of love?
We find the answer to these questions in the Bible. John writes, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). John is not saying whether God likes love or knows a lot about love, but that God Himself is love. God is the standard by which we understand love, not a gathering of human beings that decide according to their ideas, knowledge or wisdom of what love is or is not, because then, it is like shifting sands.
From the Bible, what is a visible demonstration for us to understand the expression of love? John tells us, “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his One and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). God, who is love, demonstrated His love for us by entering humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.
When we study the Gospels and the life of Jesus, we see spiritual gifts that are exercised with patience, kindness, without malice or envy. Jesus, full of intellectual wisdom, did not boast, was not proud, rude or self-seeking. His love that keeps no record of wrong and does not lord it over others who are not as good as He is. In every account of Jesus, we see a sacrificial love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, a love that never fails. This is why when we encounter Jesus, we want to build our whole life upon Him, because it is not like the world’s love that is always shifting based on conditions; it is an unconditional love.
On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate the idea of love—a one-sided aspect of love, a romantic love, a love between two broken human beings—but altogether, it is a deficient love. This year, may we celebrate Valentine’s Day by looking at the God of love who demonstrated His love for us through the person of Jesus. As we consider how we could love others, may the words of John remind us, “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for Your perfect display of what love is. As I celebrate Valentine’s Day today, may I remember that I can express unconditional love to others because You loved me first. Praise You!