For more than half of my life, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated with one man: my husband, Craig. His love has been a blessing and privilege I could not earn and often don’t deserve. It has shown me what the love of God looks like. His love brought stability to me–and created two more loves of my life: our children Rusty and Riesa. But this really is a piece about the source of love…not just lovely samples of it!
God, in His infinite wisdom, actually led us to have this poem read at our wedding. We didn’t honor God in those years, nor did we understand how true this is. But accepting truth doesn’t make something true. It either is true or it is not. The love of God as a necessity is truth.
Human love is fraught with problems that come from our human nature–selfishness, self-centeredness and a lack of faithfulness. We say “I love you” and really mean “I love how you make me feel.” The only way we can really love is to receive the love of God and let it pass through to others. True agape love–the love that is God–is beyond our human abilities.
It intrigued me to discover that only Peter expressed his love directly to the Lord. We often talk of ‘loving Jesus’ but the Scriptures do not record many such expressions. There are many commands to love God and discussions of love, but stating love directly is a different story. You may recall that the disciple Peter saw himself as totally committed to Jesus prior to his arrest…and then he betrayed him three times. It’s also interesting to note the kiss Judas betrayed Jesus with came from ‘phileo’ love–the love that is based on shared interests. When Jesus restored Peter, he asked him: “Do you (agape) love me?” Three times Jesus asked about Peter’s love. Twice he asked Peter if we agape loved him, and Peter replied, “I phileo love you.” Finally, Jesus asked him if Peter phileo loved him. Jesus knows our limits and he agape loves us…he meets us where we are at!
And that brings me back to this Valentine’s Day. Craig’s love changed my life…changed who I was because it gave me a glimpse of the faithfulness of God’s love. Make no mistake: love matters. We are called to love but true love only happens when it flows from the Creator.
We love each other because he loved us first.
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,[c] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?
1 John 4:19-20
Celebrate those who love you. But most of all celebrate the One who is love and made it all possible..