I spent some time last week getting together ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts for a couple articles that were featured here in the Patch. I enjoyed going around to local retailers and getting their opinions on what gifts would assist one in showing genuine love to our significant others. But there was one item that was not on either one of the two lists. It wasn’t mentioned by any retailer because it’s not available in any store. It wasn’t on our lists because it is such a incalculably precious treasure that it cannot be measured by any dollar amount, nor can anyone sell it, nor can anyone of us afford it, yet none of us can do without it and we all crave it. What is it? It’s love.
I know that sounds sappy, but before you close your browser on this column stick with me so that we can try to identify what love is. Is it a feeling? Is it a commitment? Is it genuine demonstrations of affection for others? What is it? How do we define it? How do we get it? How do we show it? There is a very famous section of Scripture that gives us a description of it: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Is this not what we all want for Valentine’s Day? Is this not what we all want to give for Valentine’s Day? Yes! But we all have a problem. If you are like me you can’t live up to this list. You, like me, have failed in all these areas. If you are like me, you look at this list and say, ”I can’t do all that! I’m only human!” If that’s how you feel, take heart, that’s how you’re supposed to feel.
You see we must come to the point of realization that true, pure love, like that listed in 1 Corinthians exists outside of mankind. The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8), therefore the description given in the passage above is a description of God himself. God executes all these things perfectly. And as heavy as it may seem to us when we think about it, we too are called to practice the same type of love! Matter of fact if we don’t practice that love, the way God does, then according to the rest of 1 John 4:8 we don’t know God. Yikes!
So what’s the solution? The solution is Jesus: love personified, love made flesh, love perfectly lived out in life and deed. Jesus perfectly accomplished 1 Corinthians 13 because Jesus is God made flesh. And Jesus demonstrates that love for us in that while we were still sinners He died for us (Romans 5:8). John again tells us that “this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” So, love = Jesus! But how does that help us?
Jesus came as perfect love in bodily form to redeem and rescue people, like you and me, from the sin that causes us to fall short of 1 Corinthians 13. Those who, therefore, turn from sin and self and turn to God through Jesus alone are thus forgiven of the sin that causes us to fall so woefully short of 1 Corinthians 13, and we are also given the very nature of Christ so that we now can have the capacity to love in a 1 Corinthians 13 sort of way.
If we will put all our hope and faith in Jesus, then sins are forgiven and paid for by His perfect sacrifice, and His perfect righteousness is given to us and starts a take over in our hearts. The Apostle John goes on to say, “We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). His love enables and empowers our love, through faith alone, by grace alone. John sums it up this way: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:15-18). Now that’s love!
So, what is the ultimate Valentine’s Day (or any day) gift? It’s love. What is love? It’s Jesus. You can’t put a price tag on Him. He’s of infinite value. He's freely yours to receive by faith.