Flowers, candy, cards, and teddy bears–who doesn’t enjoy these fun ways to show your Valentine how much you love them? Especially the chocolate, right?
Definitely the chocolate.
It’s the love expressed by the gift that matters.
Love holds the power to create joy, heal hearts, inspire laughter, and strengthen relationships.
We all need to know that we are loved. As much as we thrive on receiving love, God’s Word makes it clear that loving others is the bigger deal.
It’s not all about me.
Sounds like a no-brainer. Most of us have been around a long enough to know the Sunday-school answers. But loving one another doesn’t come in pat answers and cookie-cutter moments. To be honest, I’ve got a stubborn streak of all-about-me-DNA that breaks loose every now and then.
When our focus is on ourselves, we’re all about getting our need for love met in just the way we like it. It is the love of Christ that frees us from the “what’s-in-it-for-me” mindset in our relationships. Fresh faith is the power to love others God’s way.
A fresh take on Valentine’s Day
This year, let’s reach beyond the cards and the candy. Love that fill’s hearts and changes lives is best described in 1 Corinthians 13. Consider these practical ways to love others better. I’ve written these verses as a list.
None of these ways to love comes naturally. I wish it did. Especially last week when my husband wanted to go test-drive cars after dinner. Noooooo…. not the Toyota dealership!
No thank you, I’d rather stay home and clip my toenails.
Being the loving wife, I pasted on my sure-I’d-love-not-really smile. Oh the sacrifices we make for love, right? I didn’t get 10 steps out the door before God was giving me a good nudge–a begrudging attitude isn’t showing love, is it?
“For you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another…”–1 Thessalonians 4:9
Taught by God.
So we aren’t set loose with the big commandment to love people, trying to figure it out on our own. Think about a relationship that’s challenging at the moment. How could your attitude change if you reframe your perspective from a battle zone to a training ground?
Patience is rarely easy and kindness is too often simply a good intention when tempers flair or words hurt.
Love Keeps Relationships Fresh
The word love in 1 Corinthians is translated in the Greek as agape.
- This is a self-giving love without expecting anything in return.
- Agape is love that can be given to the most undeserving folks.
- Think of the meanest person you know–agape can love them.
- It is a love that carries on even when disappointed or rejected for it doesn’t love in order to get.
- This agape love is far more than a feeling for it chooses self-denial for the sake of someone else.
When my life is all about me, agape is impossible.
It is the power of Christ that frees us from the deep need that wants to love in order to get, to love for the sake of self. This is how we love others with faith that is fresh and real.
Love is where the spiritual meets the practical right in the middle of everything.
When the husband forgets to take out the trash, choose patience. When you are frustrated, choose kindness.
Receive this agape from Christ, and let it refresh the choices you make. Filling up with God’s love energizes the words you say and how you spend your time. When your friend seems to have the perfect home, refuse to be envious.
When love is difficult, hold on to hope with
Thought by thought, word by word, and action by action let love seep out of your conversations. Love softens your touch and brings strength to your convictions. Let love inspire the words you say and how you spend your time. Seek love in your actions and the decisions you make.
Take it one moment at a time, depending on Christ to empower you to give your very best self in loving others.
Even as I have loved you...there is only one place to find agape. Only one source for the love we crave. Receive the fresh love of Christ and choose to love one another well.
Which one of these loving ways comes easiest for you? Which ones are the most challenging?