Today is Valentine's Day, a day known also as "Sweetheart's Day" or "Love Day". Few know it's origin but it has become the second highest card exchange holiday of the year, second only to Christmas. Whether to family, friends, classmates or lovers, colorful cards are exchanged affirming friendship and love.
What is meant by "I love you"? Is it "I'll be nice to you and care about you as long as you reciprocate?" or "I get gratification from our relationship so it must be love"? How often is our "love" actually very laden with self? Let's take a moment to talk about love -- the real thing.
Hear the Lord saying to you "I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" Jeremiah 31:3. It is that "everlasting" part that provides confidence in His love even when we've messed up for the umpteenth time.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" John 15:13. "I lay down my life for the sheep" John 10:15. Even one's life can be laid down for selfish motives, but not so with Christ. It was a selfless love for all us unworthy, pitiful "sheep" – something that goes beyond our comprehension.
Jesus' life exemplified genuine love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. " Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." It was after three years of close association, and being recipients of His love, that Jesus admonished "love one another, as I have loved you" John 15:12. He is our Pattern.
Paul expresses my desire "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3:17-21.
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.