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 with 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.
[tweetthis]Choose to love in the nitty-gritty daily moments.[/tweetthis]
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 [tweetthis]When love is difficult, hold on to hope with fresh faith.[/tweetthis].
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?
Enjoy fun quotes graphics on love here.
When my life is all about me, agape is impossible. That is so true! I am so glad I am not left to figure this out on my own!
Me too, Sarah! “The flesh, or the false self, is simply the body and the soul operating apart from the Holy Spirit… But his life is expressed through the soul dependent on its source, not acting independently of it.” I read this quote this morning and it expresses this idea so clearly. Thanks for visiting today:)
Sweet photo of you with your hubby. And yes, only God’s agape love can enable us to love like God…and it is a daily battle and choice…Thanks 🙂
Thanks for visiting today, Dolly. So glad we could cross paths today. What a blessing we have that God can enable us to love others with his love.
Loving others IS the bigger deal. But my main prayer for others (which is loving them, I’m thinking!) is that they will know just how much they are loved by God – Eph.3 comes to mind – to comprehend God’s love is the springboard for freedom of loving others with an audacious love. Great speaker page! I’ll need to upgrade. (: Thanks, Ginger
Wow, you nailed it what your comments, Sue. Great point about praying for others to know who much God loves them. It all starts with that. Thanks for joining the conversation today!
What a great reminder Ginger! Loving difficult people doesn’t come natural to me. I’m so glad the power of the Holy Spirit is in me helping me love well.
You’re right, that’s not an easy one. Thanks for visiting today, Laura. May God fill you heart with love that overflows in countless ways.
Hey Ginger! How I could relate to going to look at cars on a date again! I loved how you would rather stay home and clip you toenails. LOL! You is funny my friend, and I’m right there with you. Thank you for the reminder of choosing the loving. I’ve also had to choose to remember and believe that he (my husband) loves me when he is critical or does not do things the way i want them done. Much love! linking from Monday Minute.
Hi Andy! It can be challenging to choose to respond with love rather than hurt, anger, or frustration in the situations you mentioned. Really challenging. But when we’re depending on Christ within us as our resource for love, it does come easier. Thanks for joining the conversation today!
Thankful we’re not left to love on our own, but God teaches us. We only have to look to His Son. Love the list from 1 Corinthians 13.
Hi Rachel, hope God is filling your life with lots of love! For me, formatting 1 Cor 13 as a list rather than a paragraph helped me to appreciate even more the wonder of agape love.
I’m so glad through God’s love He gives the instruction manual how to achieve it in our own lives. We know where we want to be and through faith we can slowly get there!
Hi Julie! I love that this passage is first a description of God’s love for us. When we truly receive and live out of this God-love, it overflows to our relationships. We love as God loves when He is our source. Blessings!
Great post! So true, “Love keeps relationships fresh.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Thanks for giving a heartfelt amen!
Dawn, thanks for stopping by today! We all need reminders to choose to love one another!