Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and with it comes proclamations of what love looks like. We hear stories of sweet couples that made it to old age reminders of what “true” love looks like. Mostly, it’s about what should demand from one another and expect to give in love.
What is love? That’s the question we’ve been asking for years.
We argue about soul mates, about what love means, what it should look like when two people commit to one another and share memes and sweet stories of what we deem to be true, enduring love.
But rarely do we talk about what love needs to endure. Instead, we are dazzled by the end product without remembering the pressure they had to endure. And often, we idolize ourselves, imagining that our beloved should be the end product, the patient, kind, selfless lover while excusing our impatient, selfish behavior.
True love, extravagant love, isn’t rooted in what others deserve, but in what God has done for us.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10, ESV
The purest form of love was offered up, not because we’d earned something, but because we were underserved. Christ lavished loved upon you and I through sacrifice. No empty words or cliche gifts, but at the high cost of His Body and Blood.True love, extravagant love, isn’t rooted in what others deserve, but in what God has done for us. Click To Tweet
That is the love that we have given to us. A costly, self-giving love.
This is love, not empty words of endurance or flowing promises, but hearts that sacrifice themselves for one another. But we cannot hope to sustain this kind of love without letting it flow through us.
I know I am broken and unable to love as I ought. I am impatient, unkind, and often ready to jump ship. But in my brokenness and inability, the Holy Spirit equips me to live loving others because by reminding me of who I am and promoting me to call upon that grace and by reforming me into the image of Christ.
Because the sacrifice of Christ is one that should forever change who I am. It does not simply change who I am in the eyes of God, but it changes my heart.
He loved me, undeservedly, but loves me far too much to let me stay just as I am.
Love, true love, always changes us. We can’t receive such a dramatic sacrifice without looking at our life and changing to the core of who we are. And when we accept the sacrificial love of Christ, it melts out hearts of stone and changes us.
God loved me so much that He came and offered up His life as a propitiation for my sins. But He doesn’t just want to change the outside appearance, He wants to release my heart from the claws of sin so that I am free to be who He created me to be.
And not only does this sacrifice change who I am through freedom, but it also fundamentally changes love.
Love isn’t seen in flowers that wither and die, it is seen in bring forth new life out of the grave. It is seen in the resurrection of things that seem impossible to revive. It is seen in the marriage that carries on in commitment long after the butterflies past. We see it in the eyes of the mother who is at the end of her rope but covers her eyes to play peek a boo one more time.
Instead of simply conjuring up love out of our finite hearts, we need to root ourselves in the boundless love of God.Instead of simply conjuring up love out of our finite hearts, we need to root ourselves in the boundless love of God. Click To Tweet
Because this is the love that truly brings hope and change. It goes beyond the moments of highs and lows and embraces a deep sustaining view that we can love beyond what we are able because we’ve been loved beyond what we deserve.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, ESV
Love is long-suffering. It endures through the hard times, believing the best and persevering in hope.
So open your eyes, and look to the great love stories around you. Because chances are, they’ve persevered through trials and tribulations. And chances are, they could not have done it alone.
Then, look to those you love and determine to, by the grace of God, love them with the enduring, sacrificial, selfless love that God demonstrated to us. Resolve to love, not through words, but through actions and dedication, with every fiber of your being. And allow yourself to be dazzled, not through the empty love Hollywood portrays, but through the blinding beauty of Calvary.