Have you bought the box of chocolates for your Valentine yet? Or maybe you're anticipating a dazzling gift from that special someone in celebration of this annual romantic holiday.
On the other hand, maybe you're wishing that all the hearts and commercialism will just go away because there is no one special in your life.
While Valentine's Day celebrations tend to focus on romantic love, it's a good time to celebrate love for our children, parents, and friends. And God. Join me in this year's celebration to discover the difference between real love and broken love.
God's Love Letter
The Bible is God's love letter to us. There are hundreds of verses to support this statement, however, that is material for a book, not a blog. Paul shows the difference between broken love and real love in 1 Corinthians 13; aka the love chapter.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only . . . a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV)
The context of this passage reveals that Paul is criticizing the Christians in Corinth for desiring spiritual gifts while ignoring loving one another. Their desires where good, but without love there good works were meaningless.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (13:4-6)
My Broken Love
I recently ran across a previous journal entry of this scripture in my journal Bible. The entry showed that I ran a love test to see if I was loving in a manner that honors God and blesses others.
To walk in the way of love:
I must be patient and kind.
I must not envy or boast.
I must not be rude or arrogant.
I must not be irritable or resentful. Bingo!
No, I didn't pass the test; my love was broken. I'm guilty of all the above to some degree, but irritability is my blatant crime against real love. My devoted hubby receives the brunt of this one. It was confession time.
Lord, I confess that I've been irritable. Help me to repent and walk in Your joy.
How would a love test impact your relationships? Your world? What would happen if we continually examined our words and actions to ensure that our love is not broken? I confess that I have not kept up on examining my heart, so let's do it together.
Is our love tainted by impatience and unkindness?
Are we envious of others? Do we overwhelm conversations bragging about our accomplishments, without showing interest in what's going on in the lives of others.
Are we rude and arrogant?
Are we irritable? Do we resent demands on our time, attention and/or energy? Ouch!
None of us will love perfectly in this life because we're flawed humans. But God shows us what real love is because He is love (1 John 4:8). If you're looking for proof of God's outrageous love, look no further than His Son, Jesus.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son; that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, emphasis added)
We're staring at the gospel truth here: Jesus gave His life so that we can be set free from the penalty of our sin. Then God's Son defeated sin and death through His resurrection. But the Good News doesn't stop there! We accept God's sacrificial gift by believing in Jesus; faith in Him opens the door to life that is both abundant and eternal.
That's not just real love, that's supernatural love. No other gift comes close to matching God's love.
Friends, we don't have to live with brokenness when we accept God's gift. May we focus on God's real love every day of the year.
Let's have a conversation. Post your comments below or through the contact page.
What is your favorite Valentine gift to receive: candy, flowers, jewelry, etc.?
How do you show real love to your family and friends? Maybe to a stranger?
How has this article challenged your thinking about love?
How can I pray for you?