This is the week when most people's thoughts turn to love - and their Valentines. However, love is a lot more than candy, flowers, jewelry and whispers of "I love you's!!"
"I love you, Patrick, with all of my heart. You taught me what real love is - with your kindness, your caring ... your commitment. From the day I became your wife, I have felt nothing but safe and cherished and whole." - from A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman
Sound like your relationship with your spouse or one to which you aspire?? Yeah - me too, (sigh)!! Award-winning author Julie Lessman is the "Queen" when it comes to writing inspirational romance novels that steal your heart and increase desire for the beautiful love relationships portrayed in her novels. However happy the novel ending always is - she makes it clear those relationships didn't begin that way, as the meaning of love is God, and the happiest, most beautiful relationships are only attained through a relationship of man and wife with God as the center.
What does the word love mean?? For many, it has been downgraded to include many things having little to do with biblical "agape" love. The Bible devotes a lot of space to the subject of love - God considers it to be of utmost importance, Jesus told us that love of God and fellow man are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22: 37-40). Therefore, it is important that we have the right understanding of love.
We are told to love God, our spouses, our brothers in Christ, neighbors, strangers and even our enemies - we are to love in the same way God loves us (John 15:12). What does the Bible say about how God shows His love?? (For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He ((even)) gave up His only begotten ((unique)) Son, so that whoever believes in ((trusts in, clings to, relies on)) Him shall not perish ((come to destruction, be lost)) but have eternal ((everlasting)) life. John 3:16, amplified).
Biblical love is placing other's needs above our own - a choice followed by action. (No one has greater love ((no one has shown greater affection)) than to lay down ((give up)) his own life for his friends. John 15:13, amplified). We may not ever need to physically die for someone, but we should be willing and we must die to ourselves to be able to serve God and others. We are told to present ourselves as living sacrifices and our actions should reflect the sacrifices of love. (But if anyone has this world's goods (( resources for sustaining life)) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him? Little children, let us not love ((merely)) in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth ((in practice and in sincerity)). 1 John 3: 17-18, amplified).
God's love is sacrificial, selfless, given freely and not based on merit (Ephesians 2:5, Romans 5:18). We should continually thank Him for the incredible love shown us - the only "Perfect" love!!
"Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us)." 1 Corinthians 16:14
Do you have other examples of God showing His love for you??
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