Valentines and chocolate hearts are flying off the shelf this week. This is a time when people think about those they love. I wish sharing God’s love with people was as easy as shopping for a card or making a reservation. People need to know that God loves them, but the Christian message of love is often lost to other voices.
I was amazed at the number of Super Bowl ads that encouraged people from many walks of life, many religions and many cultures to make whatever choices felt right to them. That is the message of love that so many in our culture are making popular. The Christian message of love says, “For 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). How do we encourage someone to love the Lord when our message stands opposed to what many people choose to believe? That’s an easier answer than it would seem.
People don’t trust every ad on the television, even when those ads promise things we want to believe. One Coca Cola Super Bowl ad featured a message of unity, tolerance and a new understanding of a love relationship but, according to a CBS news report, got a “C” from the Kellogg School of Marketing. A Budweiser ad showed their company working all night to put fresh drinking water in cans for hurricane victims. That ad depicted a love for neighbors in need and scored a “B.” Truth has a way of leaving a strong impression.
Our culture is offering people permission to define love, family and happiness any way they choose. It sounds good but that message is really more of a television ad than a true promise. God’s genuine love is powerful in its eternal nature. God’s word has endured for thousands of years and a cultural opinion will not oppose the truth for long. What does the Bible say about God’s love?
God has always loved you, and he always will. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10 NIV).
God’s love is genuine, and is the love produced in our lives by his Holy Spirit. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. . .And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (From 1 Corinthians 13:4-14).
God’s love is a perfect, sacrificial love available to anyone who will choose to receive it. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12-13).
God’s people are called to be living examples of his love. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).
It might seem like the message of God’s love is getting lost in our culture, but it really isn’t. Every time a Christian decides to share that truth with a friend, the message that has been true for thousands of years is taught again. Buy your cards, make your reservations and celebrate Valentine’s Day with those you love. But every day of the year provides opportunities to share the love of God with those who know his eternal truth. For God loved you so much, He gave you his Son.
Happy Valentine’s Day; you are greatly loved.