I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s not that I don’t celebrate love, it’s just that I don’t like a holiday that seems so superficial on the surface because I think expressing those feelings should be year-round. As my children have gotten older, my wife has convinced me to celebrate this holiday of love. Last year I was coerced into making homemade Valentine’s Day cards with my oldest daughter and baking cookies with my wife (truth be told, I loved every minute of it). This year I decided that I would be the first to mention the holiday and buy my wife a gift. Nothing to extravagant, but something simple to show her how much I love her. “Show her,” are the key words in that last sentence. What kind of love doesn’t have some sort of action associated with it? It’s easy to say, “I love you,” but what if your actions prove something different? When I look at the scriptures I see GOD’s love written all over them, but what is bigger than just the words of GOD’s love is the actual actions of His love. GOD could have easily just said, “I love you,” but what we find in scripture is a love that continues to seek, fight for, and abandon everything to prove how much He loves us. 1 John 4:8 says it like this, “for GOD is love.” GOD doesn’t just love, but He is love. His actions don’t just prove His love or show His love, but His actions are love. We can see this proven out in 3 distinct ways in scripture:
1. GOD loves the World
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT
Probably the most quoted scripture in all the world, John 3:16 shows us how much GOD loves the entire world. Many times as Christians we like to put this verse in a box and try to exclude people from His love, but GOD does not limit his love to just a certain people group. His love isn’t defined by what you’ve done or the color of your skin or even where you are now. GOD loves “the world.” He loves you, He loves me, He loves people who have done horrible things, He loves unborn children, He loves everybody. GOD gave Jesus not just for those who do good, but GOD gave Jesus for the world. If someone is a part of the world, then they are loved by GOD.
2. The Church
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Ephesians 5:25 KJV
GOD loves the church. Not the physical buildings and the traditions, but He loves the church as a body. Better said, GOD loves the organization of people who come together to worship Him in homes, communities, cities, and nations. GOD loves the church because He knows the power that is behind the unified body of Christ. As a whole unit we can spread the gospel faster than any single person. As a body we can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heal the sick more efficiently than on our own. GOD loves the church because that is where we come together as a community of believers to lift each other up and encourage one another in the faith. GOD loves the church.
3. You and Me
"So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Sometimes I think we get lost in John 3:16 and forget that not only does GOD love the world, but He loves us too. I know that sounds strange to say, but many Christians live like their actions determine GOD’s love for them. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Before you ever lived and breathed, Christ died for you. Before you ever made the first mistake, GOD loved you. GOD’s love is not defined by what we do, but it is defined by what He already did. You can’t make GOD love you any more or any less. Jesus died on the cross for you and me not for what we have done, but who we would become: Children of GOD, Children who are loved by their Father. Jesus painted His love for us when he said this in John 15:9: “I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me.” You are loved with the highest love that exist and there is nothing that can change that.