For many, Valentine’s Day has become a Hallmark holiday filled with sappy sentiment and red hearts . . . everywhere!
The exact details of the original St. Valentine are a little unclear. One ancient story says that St. Valentine ignored the emperor’s edict to discourage young people from marrying. You see, the emperor believed that single soldiers fought better. His edict prohibited soldiers to marry. That resulted in rampant promiscuity. St. Valentine performed marriages in violation of the edict and apparently lost his life for it. It’s no wonder that St. Valentine’s Day is about love.
Read John 13:1-17.
This account says that Jesus showed his disciples the full extent of his love. Analyze the characteristics of Jesus’ love. Identify in a specific way how you can emulate that agape love in two of your relationships (i.e., friend, spouse, coworker, etc.).
Jesus was Lord and Master, but he humbly did the menial work of a slave in washing the feet of the disciples. In a much larger way Jesus humbled himself to be born here, suffer here and die here even though he was God—all for us unworthy creatures.
How to show that kind of love to others will vary with each individual and their circumstances.
Understanding God’s agape love
Another love story trumps even that of St. Valentine. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). What love! This love story involves a bride who was unfaithful, constantly losing in her fight against temptation. God calls us the bride of Christ. This love story involves a Bridegroom who credited his perfect record to her and then gave his life for her in a most horrific way. He died for love. Real love.
God’s love for us not only teaches us about true love but also moves us to show love to each other. Therefore, understanding God’s love is vital to how we love others.
Read John 3:16; John 15:13; and Romans 5:8.
Pick out at least two truths from each passage about God’s love and what agape love “does.”
John 3:16—Agape love gives. It gives its most prized possession (God’s Son!). It seeks the good of others.
John 15:13—Agape love has no boundaries. It’s willing to endure pain. It moves someone to give himself or herself for another as Christ gave himself for us.
Romans 5:8—Agape love is undeserved. It is unconditional. It is determined solely by the heart of the lover, not the actions of the loved one. (Jesus doesn’t say that he did this “while we were really trying hard.”)
Reflecting God’s agape love
1 Corinthians 13 is called the “great love chapter.” In it, the apostle Paul describes what love does. He lists eight things that love is and eight things that love is not. You could call his list of what love is “deposits” you put into a relationship. As you do those things, you are making a deposit into your relationship, making it stronger. What love is not could be called “withdrawals,” taking something away from a relationship.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Identify the eight “deposits” and eight “withdrawals” listed in these verses. Pick out one of each that you know you will struggle with in your life. Then imagine what kind of relationship you could have if both people love each other with Christian agape love!
- Rejoices with the truth
- Keeps no record of wrongs
- Always protects
- Always trusts
- Always hopes
- Always perseveres
- Dishonoring others
- Easily angered
- Delights in evil
As you seek to thank God for the loved ones in your life this month, also remember to thank God for the true love of your life, Jesus. His love will never fail you!
Author: David Scharf
Volume 109, Number 02
Issue: February 2022
- Psalm 103: When you count your blessings
- Psalm 91: When God lifts you up on his lap
- Psalm 4: When you draw nearer to the end
- Psalm 42: When you ask, “Where is God when I’m hurting?”
- Psalm 32: When you need forgiveness
- Psalm 130: When rocks fall
- Bible study: Freedom in service
- What does this mean for me? Article 6
- Bible study: Spiritual gifts
- What does this mean for me? Article 5
- What does this mean for me? Article 4
- Bible study: Rejoice in your status!
- Bible study: Baptismal blessings
- What does this mean for me? Article 3
- What does this mean for me? Article 2
- Bible study: Gifts of tongues and miraculous healing
- What does this mean for me? Article 1
- Bible study: Jesus is everyone’s Savior
- Bible study: Love one another
- Bible study: Above all things!
- Bible study: The comfort of God’s providence
- The book of James: Waiting for Christ’s return
- Bible study: Precious grace
- The book of James: Active in using prayer
- Bible study: Rewards of grace
- The book of James: Active in showing love
- The book of James: Correctly evaluating riches
- Bible study: What’s going to happen on the Last Day?
- The book of James: Avoiding loveless judging
- Bible study: Interpretation practice
- The book of James: Taming the tongue
- Bible study: The Bible’s attributes
- Bible study: The importance of the family altar
- Bible study: God’s attitude is grace
- Bible study: The Bible’s account of Easter morning
- Bible study: Different types of sin
- Bible study: God’s inspiration
- Bible study: Giving God glory
- Bible study: Judge for yourself
- The book of James: Using the Word of Truth
- Bible study: The need for the Bible and worship
- Bible study: Citizens of two kingdoms
- The book of James: Active in good works
- The book of James: When battling temptation
- Bible study: God cares
- Bible study: God made the world
- The book of James: When facing trials
- Bible study: A loving God saved people from hell
- The book of James: A blueprint for living out our life of faith
- A Bible story just for me: Guilt
- Bible study: God provides victory over death!
- A Bible story just for me: Anxiety
- Bible study: God forgives and refuses to remember our sins
- A Bible story just for me: Grief
- Bible study: God helps those who cannot help themselves
- A Bible story just for me: Depression
- Bible study: God has not grown soft on sin
- Bible study: Only one path leads to God’s presence
- A Bible story just for me: Trauma
- A Bible story just for me
- Bible study: God wants me in heaven
- Bible study: The incarnation of our Lord