Valentine's Day. The time of year when we each remember how much we
love that special someone. We try to spend time together, we go out to
dinner, we buy each other presents, cards and flowers...It is truly a
celebration of the love we share.
At my house, Valentine's Day is also a birthday, for my youngest son was born on Valentine's Day. He was, and will always be, the best Valentine's present ever.
My question today is this: Is the love that we show on Valentine's Day truly pure, unselfish, Godly love?
I hope and pray that for most of you it is. To be perfectly honest, however, this isn't always the case for me.
Oh, I love spending time with my husband; but a dinner out means I don't have to cook. Would a less selfish love actually cook a special, romantic dinner of all his favorite foods, instead of insisting on going out?
What about the cards and presents? Do I truly give those out of love, or because I know it is expected? Or, perhaps, do I give because I hope to receive cards and presents in return?
And what about the time element? Do I truly long for that time together to last forever? Isn't it more often the case that I am looking at my watch, wondering how I will ever finish all the things that are usually on my "list" for the day of the week on which Valentine's Day falls?
Perhaps celebrating Valentine's Day as a birthday has been good for me, for the joy I anticipate seeing in my son's eyes as he eats his special birthday dinner or blows out the candles from his cake makes it all worthwhile. But is this truly unselfish? Doesn't a part of me do it because I think it is expected? Do I hope someone will make me feel special when it's my birthday?
Valentine's Day aside, do I perform any act of love that doesn't have some selfish interest? When I text my kids words of encouragement, is it truly out of unselfish love, or is part of me hoping to get a response? When I do things around the house that will make my husband's life easier, is my motive pure, or do I expect that my example will spur him on to doing more around the house to make my life easier?
I truly thought I had mastered the art of unselfish love, for God has been speaking this message to my heart for weeks now, and I have let go of the selfish motivation. Oh, what a freedom that brings, for I truly have learned that making others happy, even when it means sacrifice on my part, brings the greatest joy ever. If I have learned this lesson so thoroughly, however, why did I leave the mouse that the cat killed in the middle of the garage for my husband to clean up? Why did I get angry when that mouse was still there three days later? Why was I so frustrated when I finally cleaned it up myself? Shouldn't I have realized that he doesn't like dealing with dead animals any better than I do? Shouldn't I have just cleaned it up right away, without even pointing it out to him?
Isn't God's love towards us completely void of selfishness?
Not sure? Then spend a moment contemplating this verse: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16-17 NKJV)
Still not convinced? Then meditate for a few moments on this text: "God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love--not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." (1 John 4:9-10 NLT)
With love like that, isn't it natural that our love for one another should be just as unselfish, just as self-sacrificing? "Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us." (1 John 4:11-12 NLT)
What about it? Why not try showing self-less love to everyone around you this Valentine's Day? Hey, better yet, why not try to show this God-love everyday?
Not sure how? Talk to God about it. Pray that His Spirit will fill you with that unconditional, self-less love that Jesus demonstrated to us. Believe me, it's a prayer God longs to answer, and I guarantee you'll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life.
This is my prayer for each of us today: "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." (Eph 3:16-19 ESV)
Happy Valentine's Day!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.