What Kind of Love Is This?

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Call me overly sentimental, but I am happy that the calendar includes a day to celebrate love! Happy Valentine’s Day. The cynical among us will see this day as one hyped to create a market for cards, chocolates, and flowers. And yes, some of that is true, but expressions of loving affection are always a welcomed thing in this love-starved world in which we live.  But, today, we can celebrate real love.  Is it just about hearts and flowers, about romantic attraction?  A little, yes, but it is so much more.

In this beautiful passage, Paul describes the rich fullness of love. “Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. ….For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:7-11, 13, CEV)   That kind of love is far more costly than a Hallmark™ card or a dozen roses.   It will flourish long after the sparks of passions have diminished!

How I pray for love to be found in me and all those who claim the Name of Jesus.  My prayer is that it will not be shallow kind of affection, but an enduring choice we make about others. What does that look like?

  • It is the love that reaches out to the child in a distant nation through an agency like World Vision or Compassion and invests $40 a month for that child’s education and care.
  • It is the love that forgives the one who wounds us with thoughtless words, reaching for restoration.
  • It is the love that makes us blind to skin color seeing others as our brothers and sisters.
  • It is the love that sees the person and not just his usefulness in our agenda.
  • It is the love that will not allow us to divide people, but rather makes us ‘messengers of reconciliation.’

Jesus taught us that this kind of love is the mark that will cause others to know that we are His disciples. Profound love is not natural to us. To love, as He did – sacrificially, for the benefit of others – demands an experience of God’s love that dethrones Self and changes us inside out. John says “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. … We love each other because he loved us first.” (1 John 4:10, 19, NLT)  Love comes from God and flows from us even to those who are unlovely.  Jesus said it is modeled on the love of our Father Who “gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.” (Matthew 5:45-47, The Message)

Happy Valentine’s day. Celebrate the love even if you’re not romantically tied to anyone.   Love, like Christ loved you!   It will change your world;  yes, that love will come back to change you!

The word from the Word are Jesus’ words about love, spoken to His disciples the night before He went to the cross.

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me.
Make yourselves at home in my love.
If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love.
That’s what I’ve done—
kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose:
that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.

This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.

 This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.
You are my friends when you do the things I command you.”  (John 15:9-14, The Message)
________________________________________

Your Love Is Extravagant

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship is intimate
I find I’m moving to the rhythms of Your grace
Your fragrance is intoxicating
In our secret place
Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ
Is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known
You considered me a friend
Capture my heart again

Your love is extravagant
Your love is extravagant
Your love is extravagant

Darrell Evans © 1998 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI)) CCLI License # 810055

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