On Sunday we celebrated Valentine’s Day, the holiday of love. The word love stimulates a flurry of images, but what is love? When I first encountered love, I was willing to put aside all other things and become single focused. Love was about receiving. Now I know that love is giving as well as receiving. I have learned that love is caring for and giving to someone else. Love inspired me to step beyond self-concern and focus on the needs of another. Love is about relationship. Yet I wonder how love got into my heart. Where did it come from?
This whole topic has been stirred by reading 1 John chapter 4, and I think it provides answers for the above questions. The apostle John first tells us that Love comes from God (verse 7). In verses 8 and 16 he states that God is love. I conclude that the reason I have love in my heart is that God put it there. In verse 19 John says, “We love because he first loved us.” When I love someone, it is because God loves me. I am, though imperfectly, a reflection of his love.
The Apostle Paul clarifies for us what love is in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, “Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Since God is love, these verses highlight his character. God loves us with these attributes.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) God made the eternal declaration of his love for us via the cross. The Bible tells us of his love, but on the cross he demonstrated his love. The great source of love has given his love to us in an irrefutable act. God loved us in this sacrificial way in order to restore our relationship with him. His command to us, love one another. May his great act of love grow and flourish in our hearts.