Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day of love. In 2018 Americans spent $19.6 billion on Valentine’s dinners, cards, flowers, candy and other gifts. That is truly remarkable.
I’m no different. I want to show Sue how much she means to me. I am so grateful for her love. Our journey together through life, with Christ as our guide and center, is a wonderful love story. I love Sue with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
Hmmmm, does that last sentence sound familiar?
Jesus tells us “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. And he follows that command with “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus is a pretty smart guy. These commands from Jesus are perfectly and inextricably tied.
No doubt many of us know these command by heart. But do we really understand the incredible impact they have on our lives and the lives of others when we follow them – how they bless and enrich our lives and our world?
Those we marry are our closest neighbor. Sue is the one person I have chosen to journey through life with. I have vowed to live together with her in holy marriage. To love her, comfort her and honor her. To be with her in sickness and in health. To forsake all others and be faithful to her as long as we live.
And yet on the hamster wheel of life we forget that from God all love flows. In our sin we fail to love God and others as Jesus commands. When that happens, instead of experiencing goodness, mercy, love and joy, we feel pain and sorrow. Others feel pain and sorrow. I’ve seen this happen in marriage, at times my own.
I confess that in my sin, there have been times I’ve taken our love for granted. I’ve abused that love. And I have not loved Sue as I should.
Those were times when I wasn’t loving the Lord the way I should – with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I certainly wasn’t showing my love for Sue this way.
Maybe you are in one of those times right now. Where are you in your relationship with the God of love? Where are you in your relationship with your husband or wife?
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to reflect on that – and if needed, do something about it. Flowers and dinner are great, but your marriage needs something much more – the love of the Father. Recommit your life to God – your entire heart, soul, mind and strength. And then, recommit to your love to your spouse. God’s love is greater than any problem you may face.
Jesus said, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”
Flowers, candy and dinner are nice. But immerse them in Christ’s love. Fill your marriage with Joy as you love each other as Jesus loves you.