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Real Love


It won’t be long before red hearts decorate the landscape in businesses around town. It’s another opportunity for kids to eat candy.

It’s called “Valentine’s Day.”

Well, truth be told, the candy isn’t just for the kids. It’s no longer called ‘Saint Valentine’s Day’ and it has nothing to do with celebrating the life of an early Christian known as Valentinus.

For Americans, Valentine’s Day is a day when expressions of love are encouraged—perhaps the only ‘hold-over’ from the original celebration—with such items as flowers, cards, and candy.

God didn’t just say “I love you,” but He proved His love by action—by sending His only Son into this world as our Savior.

I may buy my wife flowers and maybe some candy as an expression of my love for her…but it won’t be the only thing I do. What I mean is, husbands and wives shouldn’t express their love for one another only one day a year, nor is that love truly expressed in cheap trinkets. Real love is of a different quality.

Here is the ultimate example of real love: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [atoning sacrifice] for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

It’s not really difficult to say the words “I love you.” Candy and flowers aren’t really much of a sacrifice; they really aren’t that expensive either, if we want to compare price tags.

On the other hand, the ultimate example of real love wasn’t at all cheap—it was costly, even priceless. Incredibly, that’s the price that God placed on you and me, the price He was willing to pay to make us His own.

God didn’t just say “I love you,” but He proved His love by action—by sending His only Son into this world as our Savior.

Christ’s love for us was—and is—more than just words. It is more than flowers and chocolate. It involved a self-less, self-sacrificing love. Jesus expressed His love by laying down His life for the world of sinners.

So also, the Holy Scriptures teach that a husband’s love for his wife is to mirror Christ’s self-less and self-sacrificing love.

Don’t misunderstand. It’s not that we shouldn’t or can’t give flowers, cards, and chocolates. However, our expressions of love should be more than mere tokens. We can also show our love by speaking in a way that builds up rather than tears down (see Ephesians 4:15); by actively seeking to help those in need (1 John 3:17, James 2:15-17); by encouraging those beaten down (Isaiah 35:3-4), and by comforting those experiencing tribulation (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

We express our faith and show our love when the Spirit of God prompts us to exhibit actions that glorify Christ. Saying ‘I love you’ can become mere words…but real heartfelt love—like Christ’s love for us—expresses itself in actions. Don’t just give flowers or candy to your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife…show genuine love by talking to them about their Savior and His love for them.

Real love doesn’t look to feed only the body but also the soul. Real love looks out for the spiritual and eternal welfare of others, seeking to offer more than something that goes stale or melts in the heat of the sun.

Don’t just give Jesus a ‘one or two days a week time slot.’ May the Holy Spirit move us to make the Savior the centerpiece of our plans and lives together. That’s a gift of love that has lasting benefits.