Valentine’s Day… the day devoted to all things love.
As a family, we’ve recently been talking a lot about what love really looks like. We’ve even been memorizing 1 John 4:19 together: “We love because he first loved us.”
On Valentine’s Day, there is naturally a lot of focus on showing our loved ones just how much we love them. (Hopefully we do this every day, but Valentine’s gives us the excuse to up our game a little!) We might buy candy, flowers, or thoughtful presents. We write cards that attempt to express the magnitude of our love and affection. We spend time together, share a special meal, serve one another in meaningful ways, or have fun doing a favorite activity. You get the idea. We do love extra big on Valentine’s. (And for Jay and me, Valentine’s Day marks the anniversary of our first date, so it’s even more special for us!)
But I love (no pun intended) what 1 John 4:19 says. “We love because he first loved us.” Those words have been ringing loud in my head the past few days. He first loved us. He first loved me. He first loved you. Before anyone came into our lives, yes even our parents, God first loved us.
I have found that in order for me to love others well, I must first know and truly live in God’s love for me. The One who first loved me, is also the one who loves me today with a love that is ever-pursuing, unfailing and overflowing. It is the widest, longest, highest and deepest love that we can ever know. It can soften the hardest parts of our hearts and gently heal the most tender of wounds. It’s so great that it even surpasses our understanding!
From Genesis to Revelation, story after story showcases God’s unwavering love for us, with its biggest and grandest demonstration being the Cross. The Bible is God’s Love Letter to you and me, and oh yes, it’s the greatest love story ever told!
When I am walking through my day, remaining in THIS love, I am freed and filled to love those around me extravagantly. Don’t get me wrong, my insecurities, selfishness and pride try their best to get in the way. Doubt and fear can creep in, distract me from God’s perfect love, and then I’m left feeling hindered, sometimes paralyzed, in my ability to love those around me.
But when I turn back to the Love Letter, meditate on its words, and talk to The One who wrote it, THIS love conquers all. And nothing, no nothing, can separate me from it.
I am able to love my husband, my daughter, my family, friends, and strangers well because of THIS love. I am able to love with a 1 Corinthians 13 love because of THIS love’s pursuit and transformation of my own heart. (Believe me, it has done a lot of transformation in me over the years!)
I can love others well because he first loved (and still loves) me. Am I perfect in this? No. But it starts here. It starts with me daily reminding myself of everything I just wrote about THIS extravagant love. And my prayer for you this Valentine’s is that you, too, would know THIS extravagant love, and through its outpouring in your life, you would be freed and fearless to love BIG today… and every day.
Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! xoxoxo