Ahh February..the month of Love! February gives us Valentine’s Day; the holiday that causes most men more than a bit of anxiety. The average person will spend $126.03 this year on Valentine’s Day to show their love to their favorite person. It is a holiday that people either “love” or “hate”. My son used to call it “singleness awareness” day.
It is wonderful to celebrate love of family and that special someone at Valentine’s Day. But it is unfortunate that even in the church we have allowed our culture and media to define “love” for us. Our culture today has us believing that love means if you meet my needs then I will love you. I have been to more than one wedding ceremony to hear the bride and groom promise to stay together “as long as their love shall last.”
We need look no further than to the Creator of Love, God himself for the definition of love. 1 John 4:7 says that love is from God. Biblical love is an action word, not a feeling word. We have reduced love to a feeling that can come and go. Biblical love is based on covenant; a promise made and kept.
The word most often associated with God’s love for us is the Hebrew word hesed translated lovingkindness. Lamentations 3:22 says, “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never ceases, For His compassions never fail.” Hesed it is not merely love, but loyal love; not merely kindness, but dependable kindness; not merely affection, but affection that has committed itself. It is most often used of someone “doing,” “showing,” or “keeping” hesed. Hesed expresses both God’s loyalty to His covenant and His love for His people along with faithfulness to keep His promises.
The first time we see the word love used in scriptures is in Genesis 22:2. The Scriptures tell us that God tested Abraham by asking him to offer up his son as a sacrifice. He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. Isn’t it interesting that the first time God uses the word love it is the context of a father sacrificing his son. This is how our Heavenly Father showed His love towards us; by sacrificing His son, His only son, whom He loved. John 3:16 “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.
What’s love got to with it? Everything; for we are to love one another with the same depth of love that the Father has shown to us. Jesus said to his disciples the night before he died. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. There is no greater love than this—that a man should lay down his life for his friends” John 15:9, 12-13. This too is to be a hesed kind of love; loyal, dependable, kind, committed, all shown by our actions.
This Valentine’s Day as you celebrate the ones you love; remember to give glory to your Heavenly Father the author of love and your Savior who put His love in action on the cross.