Approaching Valentine’s Day every year there seems to be examples everywhere for what love is supposed to look like. Books, magazine covers, and movies all take a different, yet similar approach.
Every form of advertisement and media says that love is a feeling and the way to measure love is by judging the intensity of that feeling.
“Do something more exciting.. Be edgey, be dangerous, be young and crazy..” — pop culture seems to say.
The bigger the thrill, the greater the love… right?
I’m afraid, however, that this popular definition of love is a wrong one. I think we are being lied to about love.
The Bible makes it clear – love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action. And it’s a commitment to that action.
It says in Romans 5:8 that God showed His love for us by dying on the cross for our sin. And then in Ephesians 5:25 we’re instructed to imitate this very same love.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,”
The Bible primarily measures love based on the level of sacrifice, not by the intensity of a “feeling”.
The world’s definition seems to be in direct opposition to this. From the movies we watch to the books we read, it seems that love is instead to be defined by how someone else can serve you and earn your love.
This is not love and it will never work. When both parties live with this mindset (and they will) it creates a tug-o-war of selfish desire and focus.
That’s not to mention the pressure of making your love look like the Bachelor TV dates, the fanciful romance found in the Notebook, and the thrilling nature of 50 Shades of Grey. If you follow that trail, in the end what you will have is an unrealistic, un-natural form of love that serves up anything, but contentment.
If so much of what we have been told about love is wrong and fictitious, how do we know what love really is?
The Bible puts it this way…
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16
True love is a mixture of selfless sacrifice and merciful grace. Feelings are cheap, but true love is costly.
Love looks like cleaning the dishes so your spouse doesn’t have to…
Love looks like putting down your phone to give full attention to a conversation…
Love looks like folding laundry…
Love looks like an apology and forgiveness…
True love is the expression of Jesus’ heartbeat through your marriage.
Sacrifice, mercy, and grace may not be sexy, but it’s solid. This Valentine’s Day – there’s nothing wrong with a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers, and an exciting dinner date – let’s just be careful to not allow that to be our definition of love.