Ahhh…it’s February, the month of love. Everywhere we see pink and red and hearts and chocolate (let’s not look at the scale for a while!) and romance and blah blah blah.
Okay to be honest, Valentine’s Day has never been one of my favorite holidays. It’s not because I’m jealous of other relationships, or because I have unrealistic expectations. I just think it’s kind of funny to have a day where we love people extra when we’re called to love people more and more…ALWAYS. But on the other hand, Valentine’s Day is a great day to REMIND us to take a little extra time to show people how you care and to reassure them that you love them.
The Bible has a lot to say about love. And for those of you who know me, you know that my life “verse” (chapter, really) is the love chapter itself. But I discovered the other day, accidentally, while flipping through my Bible during Sunday morning service, there’s a chapter in Romans entitled “Love in Action.” This, of course, piqued my curiosity. I bookmarked said chapter and then picked it up later that night and ended up writing several pages based on, literally, the first verse.
Romans 12:1 – “Love must be sincere.”
It’s four words but, man…can those four words make all the difference in the world. For starts, we hear the word “sincere” a lot. But do we know what it means? Thanks to Google, I had the answer easily at my fingertips.
free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings.
(of a person) saying what they genuinely feel or believe; not dishonest or hypocritical.
So...what does this mean? It means that love cannot be a lie. It cannot be used as an excuse for personal gain. Love must be felt in order to be true and genuine.
What is love? What should I feel to know that it is truly love? (Romantic, friendship, family, anyone.) In order to find that answer, let us consult the love chapter itself…
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Let’s break that down a bit. What are some questions we should ask ourselves when we tell others we love them? What are some questions we should ask ourselves when others tell us they love us? (I love bullet points…)
• Love is patient (can I put up/be patient with this person? Are they patient with me?)
• Love is kind (do I feel any meanness towards this person? Are they mean towards me?
• Love is not envious (do I want what this person has? Are they consistently making comments about how they wish they had what I have?)
• Love is not boastful or proud (do I feel the need to shove my successes in this person’s face or hog the attention? Do they never let me get a word in edgewise because they’re too busy bragging about themselves?)
• Love is not dishonoring (disrespectful) (do I feel the need to put this person down? Do they make me feel disrespected?)
• Love is not self-seeking (does this person only benefit me? Do I only benefit this person? Is it mutually beneficial or are we each only seeking something for ourselves?)
• Love is not easily angered (do I have a temper with this person? Do they get mad at me often?)
• Love is not a grudge-holder (did this person do something to me that I am still holding against them? Are they holding something against me that I’ve already sought forgiveness for?)
• Love is an evil hater and is joyful in truth (does this person bring out the best in me and I in them?)
• Love is protective (am I willing to put myself on the line for this person? Would they do the same for me?)
• Love is trusting/trustworthy (am I someone this person can trust and can I trust them?)
• Love is hopeful (do I always seek the best with this person? Does this person have an optimistic outlook with me?)
• Love is perseverant (will I ever give up on this person? Will they ever give up on me?)
• Love is unfailing (will I always strive to love this person no matter what? Will they always strive to love me?)
Aren’t bullet points fun?
Now that we have a detailed list of what love is, let’s go back to Romans 12 to see what we’re supposed to do with this sincere love.
Romans 12:10a – “Be devoted to one another in love.”
How? (More bullet points, yay!)
• 12:10b – “Honor one another above yourself.”
• 12:11a – “Keep your spiritual fervor” (intense, passionate feeling)
• 12:11b - “Serve the Lord” (in serving the Lord He will provide people to whom you can show sincere love)
• 12:12a – “Be joyful in hope” (Encourage! Hebrews 3:13 says “Encourage one another daily, so long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.)
• 12:12b – “Patient in affliction” (do not be harsh to or belittle those who are struggling)
• 12:12c – “Faithful in prayer” (pray for your loved ones constantly. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Rejoice always. Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”)
• 12:13 – “Share with those in need – be hospitable.” (be aware of people’s needs and meet them)
• 12:14 – “Bless those who persecute you” (repay meanness with kindness)
• 12:15 – “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.”
• 12:16 – “Do not be proud and unwilling to associate with people of low position.” (Be humble enough to show love to those who need it. As Jesus Himself says in Luke 5:31, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” And bear in mind… “low position” is a worldly standard. We are all God’s children. Jesus showed the ultimate display of love by sacrificing Himself for ALL of us.)
If you’re still lost… just look to Jesus Himself. The Bible says that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Ask the age old question; “WWJD?” What would Jesus do? How would He love this person? How does He love ME?
Sinking Deep – Hillsong Young & Free’
“Love so deep is washing over me, Your Face is all I seek, You are my everything.”
Show some sincere love in action. Today, tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, every day.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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