(By Rachel Joyce)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
On this Valentine’s Day, when our western world focuses on love, would you take a minute to think about what love essentially is? Recently, I heard a definition that resonated with me as pure truth. Love is a commitment to bless. To bless is “to bestow good upon” (dictionary.com). As a Christian, I’m familiar with the statement, “Love is a verb.” It means that love, rather than being merely a feeling of fondness, ultimately is choosing to act in a way that benefits the loved one. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, the apostle Paul gives a good description of what love does:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
When we look back at the life of Jesus, we see love personified. Because of His great love for us, He chose to sacrifice His life so we could be cleansed from our sins and brought into His family. As His children, we are called to follow His example…to love others sacrificially. In fact, that’s how the world will recognize that we belong to Him, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35). How dare we claim to be His followers and yet act in an unloving way to others around us? We violate the very definition of who we are called to be, our unique identity as followers of Jesus.
May God help us to live out our calling, to sacrificially choose to bless others despite the personal cost. May He help us to be patient and kind, to rejoice in the truth, to continually hope and never give up, and to endure without losing faith. May we choose not to be irritable or keep a record of wrongs. We cannot do these things on our own strength, only as we yield to God and allow Him to love through us. In Romans 5:5, Paul explains: “We know how dearly God loves us because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” We, who have been loved much, have been given the ability to love much. May we choose to do so, in His strength and for His glory.