I really wish secular holidays wouldn’t fall on Sunday.
There is always this temptation to fashion my Sunday morning message around whatever holiday the country may be celebrating. And what am I to do with “National Prune Juice Day.” So as a rule I don’t let the secular calendar dictate Sunday’s message.
But Valentine’s Day is an exception to my rule because celebrating love is so much easier when we know the God who calls Himself “Love.” I know Valentine’s Day centers on the love between a man and a woman and I don’t want to minimize that but I really believe that understanding God’s love will give us the proper model for every other love relationship we have.
Here is what we often hear about love.
“Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” WRONG
“Love is never having to say good-bye.” WRONG
“The greatest expression of love is sex.” WRONG again.
Let me narrow this down to two simple things about God’s love for us that should be shaping the way we love others.
First, God’s love is sacrificial in nature.
Everyone’s favorite Bible verse, John 3:16 begins with the words, “For God so loved the world that He gave…..” God gave something that is beyond our ability to give, He gave His Son to pay the penalty that our ugly sin demanded. We may not be able to give with the same measure that God gave, but our love for others should always reflect His willingness to give and sacrifice instead of demand and take.
Just before He died on the cross Jesus explained, “no one takes my life from me…I lay it down of my own accord.”
The other important thing about God’s love is that it was “Demonstrated.”
You’ve heard the old adage “Talk is cheap” and I think that applies to the way we express our love. How many young single women have been left to raise a child on their own while they whisper to themselves, “He said he loved me.”
Roman’s 5:8 tells us that “God demonstrates His love for us…in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV)
Saying that you love someone is important but God has shown us that true love always finds a tangible way to express itself. God could have taken His finger and written in the sky, “I love you”, but if that love never found a way to rescue us from Hell, it would have been just cheap talk.
So on Valentine’s Day this year, let your love for that special someone be a reflection of God’s love for you. Try to find a way to demonstrate your love even if it means you have to sacrifice to do it.