True Love

Lindsey Zarob, Content Manager, Central Ministries | February 14, 2024

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18

I’ve never really been a fan of Valentine’s Day. I wonder if its consumer-oriented nature has contributed to our collective misunderstanding of what love really is. I know that might seem a little dramatic to some, but this is where my mind has gone for years. So when this holiday comes around, it takes a concerted effort on my part to engage with all the things for the sake of these kids of mine. 

This morning, they will leave the house full of excitement—each will have a bag filled with little notes, candies, and trinkets carefully put together for each class member. They may have fussed over which friends should get which valentines, and they sure did spend a little extra time on the notes for those closest to them. Truthfully, I couldn’t tell if they were more excited to give them or to find out what kinds of valentines they’d receive once the day started. 

No matter how you feel about Valentine’s Day, today’s Scripture paints a beautiful and compelling picture of True Love. Ultimately, Love is a person who sacrificed everything so we might journey through this life with His Holy Spirit leading and guiding us. One day, we’ll see Him face to face. But until then, we act out this love with more than just cute cards full of pithy sayings—we lay down our lives for others because of this great love. This may not mean laying down your life to the point of death, it can also mean, a mom holding back her dislike for a holiday in the name of loving her kiddos. 

Here’s the thing: Jesus’ love compels us into action that isn’t limited to a holiday on the calendar. It provokes a willingness to focus outward. It convinces us to put ourselves second and maybe third, maybe even fourth… Not at the expense of our health or wellness, but certainly in a posture of service and sacrifice. 

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18).

Next Steps

As we made the girls’ valentines, the excitement in their little faces and the joy they hoped to spread through those (in my mind silly) little cards filled my heart with gratitude for these moments. As we begin this What Gives? series, we know that living generously must begin with a heart of gratitude. Spend time reflecting on your day-to-day, are there areas where you can grow in gratitude?