On February 14th we celebrate a special day to commemorate our love. We give flowers and candy, we plan romantic dinners and we send cards that express our devotion for that one special person in our life. We sing songs that extol the fervency of our affection, and we make a special effort to demonstrate the love that we hold for that person the year round. Even the most “macho” of men will find ways to express tenderness on this one day of the year.
The gifts we give on such an occasion, no matter how expensive or how simple, are usually accepted with great joy. Everyone appreciates being loved, and even the smallest expressions of love touch us deeply. This is one reason why mothers tend to keep and to cherish the little hand-made cards and trinkets that their children give them. It is also why a wife will keep every Valentine card her husband has ever given her.
We understand that true love is much more than the size or monetary value of a gift given on a special occasion. In fact, we treasure the daily expressions of love, and count them to be more indicative of love, than even the most elaborate and expensive of gifts. A fancy gift on a special day does not make up for unspoken love the rest of the time. What we desire more than anything is a demonstration of love in all the ups and downs of life. We want to know that our husband or wife is giving his or her very best each and every day. This is how it works in the most successful marriages (although gifts on special occasions are also appreciated and must not be neglected!).
As Christians, we are the recipients of the best of both worlds in this regard. We have the daily gift of God’s love as He blesses our lives with all that we need (Mt. 6:33). We have the ongoing presence of His Holy Spirit, who has been given to us as the pledge of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14). We have His promise that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist it (1 Cor. 10:13), and we have the assurance that He will never desert us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). All of these things demonstrate God’s love for us each and every day of our lives.
In addition to this, He has given us the greatest gift that could possibly be given to us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16, NASB). Jesus told His disciples that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends (Jn. 15:13). This He did for each of us when He shed His precious blood on Calvary as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. He did it because God loved us, even while we were yet sinners, and because He loved us as well (Rom. 5:8). There is no greater love that could be shown to us.
As the recipients of such love, it behooves us to do two things. First, we must show our appreciation for it by always obeying the Lord’s commands. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15). If we do this, the Lord’s sacrifice of love will not have been in vain. Second, we will love one another, even as our Father and His Son have loved us. John said, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jn. 4:7, 8). What God has done for us, we must do for each other, for there is no greater love than this.