A Valentine’s Day memory reminds me to embrace and share God’s gift of love.
A Special Memory
My favorite Valentine’s Day gift is the one my daughter gave to me when she was seven. While we were shopping, I spied a black sweater vest with embroidered hearts of various colors. I noticed it because we elementary teachers enjoyed wearing cheery shirts and sweaters on special days.
After I tried on the vest, I checked the price tag and returned the garment to the rack. My daughter responded, “Mommy, why did you put it back? It looks beautiful on you.”
“Honey, it costs too much,” I responded, “and I could only wear it one day each year. It’s just not practical.”
On February fourteenth I unwrapped a gift and pulled aside pink tissue paper. Tyler Marie’s smile was wider than mine.
After our shopping trip, she’d sequestered her dad and pleaded, “Please, Daddy, help me buy the heart vest for Mommy. I don’t have enough money, but it’s really pretty, and it will look beautiful on her.”
Within minutes, they’d driven to the store and returned with a secret package which she wrapped and hid under her bed. She then presented it to me on Valentine’s Day. I knew she loved me prior to receiving her gift, but she demonstrated her love by putting it into action.
Tyler Marie had observed what delighted me and enlisted her dad’s help to make a purchase that exceeded her piggy bank’s balance. Her love was abundant, and her resources paltry, however, she knew—compared to her supply—her dad had plenty.
How We Feel and What Jesus Says
Our feelings of love are sometimes paltry—especially when other people disappoint us or act in unbecoming ways. We’re sometimes reluctant to demonstrate love, and we’re tempted to withhold expressions of love when they’re unappreciated or not reciprocated.
If we focus on our feelings of love (or lack thereof), we may be reluctant to obey a commandment of Jesus.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.John 15:12 ESV (All Bible verses in this post are from the ESV.)
I stopped to ponder this part of His words: “…as I have loved you.”
He also said,
If you love me, you will keep my commandments.John 14:15
One of the ways we demonstrate our love for God is by obedience, and one way to obey Him is to embrace His love and love others as He loves us. We can comply only by trusting the Holy Spirit to grow the fruit of love in our hearts (Galatians 5:22). Mustering love on our own cannot measure up to the standard of Jesus, “as I have loved you.”
God’s love is undeserved. It’s based on His lovingkindness, not our behavior. As Christ-followers, our expressions of love to others are based on His lovingkindness and unconditional love.
Although we lack unconditional love, our Father holds a storehouse, and He fills our hearts with His love—not to store, but to share.
Although we lack unconditional love, our Father holds a storehouse, and He fills our hearts with His love—not to store, but to share. Click To Tweet
As our daughter did, we can turn to our Father when our love supply is inadequate. The One who turned water into wine and fed multitudes with two fish and five loaves of bread can supply all we need to obey His commandments—even the charge to love as He loves.
Put on Love and Put Love into Action
His Word doesn’t teach us to love based on our feelings or our ability. Instead, the Bible teaches us to “put on love” among other virtues.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.Colossians 3:14
Once we surrender our lives to Christ, His love resides in our hearts, but we choose our behavior on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. We choose to “put on love,” to align our behavior with the love of Jesus that resides in our hearts.
On Valentine’s Day this year, I’ll put on my heart-covered vest and remember my daughter’s love. Each day, let’s embrace God’s love by putting on the love of Christ and translating His love into action by sharing it with others.
Let’s embrace God’s love by putting on the love of Christ and translating His love into action by sharing it with others. Click To Tweet
Love in action may lead to a gift or a card with a verse of Scripture or perhaps to an account of how God’s love has changed our lives. Maybe we’ll wrap God’s love with encouraging words and acts of kindness as He points us toward the needs of others.
As we notice the plethora of hearts this season, let’s remember what Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
Please share your thoughts about how embracing God’s love and choosing to put on love each day can help us share His love with others. How has someone shared God’s love with you?
More reading about sharing God’s love with others:
1. For a Valentine’s Day post with a list of “one another” verses, click the link to Marilyn Nutter’s post on marilynnutter.com.
2. For a post about using our gifts to meet the needs of others, click the link to Linda Lyle’s post on lindalyle.com.