For Valentine’s Day today, I decided to look up Biblical verses about love. I used the Internet, and there were so many that I couldn’t print them all off. The Bible is really God’s love story to us. Beginning in the Old Testament, we can see the love that God had for those who sought Him. But then God went even farther. He knew that we needed a Savior, so He sent us His Son. Jesus lived as one of us and then through His death and resurrection, we were saved from our sins. This is the highest expression of love possible on God’s part and Jesus’ as well. John 3:16 is probably the most well-known and repeated verse in the whole Bible. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. This verse maybe explains that better than any other.
Then we read 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 – the love chapter of the Bible: (Selected verses) “I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.” And you know what the summary is of those 13 verses? It’s really retold in just nine words: If we do not have love, nothing else matters!
Jesus went on to say in John 13:34 even more about loving people: “A new commandment I give to you. That you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jesus instructed His own disciples to love one another and through this love, people would know that they were His disciples. The defining characteristic of all of our races is love. It’s why we are here.
Think about what Jesus said then in Matthew 5:44: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” We find so many excuses to not love people nowadays. We are to love, accept, and forgive people if not for their sakes, for our own sakes often times.
The word love is thrown around a lot today. We love our new shoes; we love our favorite sports team; we love our pet; we love the color blue; we love our friend, we love pizza; we love our Lord. Remember when the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to trap Jesus and asked Him what the greatest commandment in Matthew 22: 37-40 was? Jesus told them, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus made it very plain that we are to love God with our whole being and our neighbors just as we love ourselves. If we do this, everything else takes care of itself. Satan’s greatest weapon is when he gets us to walk in hate/ dislike/prejudice/whatever you call it against others. It can be a friend, someone who makes us angry, someone who is different from us, someone who disagrees with us, and it can even be ourselves at times. He’s so sneaky about it; we don’t even realize it more often than not. Don’t fall into his trap.
This Valentine’s Day choose love – not just for you people you like, but for the entire human race, including the animals, and environment. We are all God’s creation that He loved so much to make for us to enjoy. Let love be your lifestyle not just today, but for the rest of your life! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Let us pray. Father God, You are love. You made us in Your image, so we should be love as well. Let us truly love one another as You have loved us throughout history. You sent us Your Son as the greatest gift of love one could give. May we accept the gift of His love for us and share that gift with others. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.