Valentine's Day is Not About You

How did Valentine's day become "I-need-someone-to-make-much-of-me day"? The popular idea of love conjures up images of being served and doted on by others. So if you don't have someone buying you flowers, sending you notes, and telling you you're awesome on Valentine's day, it then becomes an excuse to be angry and depressed.

Christian, your view of love should be markedly different than this. The way of love shown to us by Christ is self-sacrifice: considering the needs of others as more important than your own. For us, Valentine's day should prompt acts of self-sacrifice not thoughts of who might puff us up with praise and compliments.

The Chick Flick Lie

If your ideas of love and romance have been primarily shaped by movies, then you are already at a disadvantage. Almost all romantic comedies portray love as worshiping, or making much of, another person. A man finds his true love, and she becomes the center of his universe as he spends all his energy seeking to make much of her. This is NOT love.

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 4:10

Love is primarily realized in relationship with God, who though He alone deserves to be made much of, laid aside that right to die in our place and give us access to the Father. This is love.

If anything, for the Christian, a chick flick should prompt you to consider how to love other people. But unfortunately, the common response to these movies is 1. assuming we deserve the right to be treated this way (which we do not), and 2. to mope and complain when we don't have this kind of fake love.

A Better Way

What kind of thoughts should we have on Valentine's Day? First of all, we should meditate on and mull over and dwell on how the King of the Universe has loved us.

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We don't even have the ability to truly love without first understanding, receiving, and enjoying God's deep, lasting, and undeserving love through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. This means we cannot truly love as long as we are still aching for it.

Let me say that again, we cannot truly love as long as we are still aching for it.

God's love needs to fill our hearts to overflowing before we can understand what it means to truly love others. To love them not get from them but to give to them. Not to use them but to be used for them.

Romantic Love Not Excluded

I think every Christian would agree with the above statements that we should love others this way. But for some reason, when it comes to romantic love between boyfriends and girlfriends or husbands and wives, we make exceptions. "But you have no idea how often my husband has forgotten Valentine's Day! I deserve to be treated better." No, you do not. You deserve hell and God has pardoned your soul through the most sacrificial act of all time. What a better moment to do something amazing for your spouse! Model for him the grace of God, the self-sacrificial love of God in his worst moments! THIS IS LOVE.

Love is sacrifice. Love is considering others as more important than yourself. Love is not. about. you.

Don't allow this Valentine's Day to convince you that you are entitled to something. Let it remind you that you are not entitled to anything at all, but the God of the Universe has freely and entirely given Himself for you. So be filled with His love and hand it out freely to those around you. HE is enough for your aching heart. HE is the only real, tangible love that exists. And HE alone should be who we make much of as we seek to model His love to others.

Happy Valentine's Day! To God be all glory!

photo credit: Leave a little love wherever you go (CC) via photopin (license)