Valentine’s Day is a yearly emphasis on demonstrating love for the special people in our lives. But it doesn’t take long for the luster of our expressed love to escape, or for our feelings of love to fade. Flowers wilt, candies are eaten, cards are thrown away, ambiance evaporates, passions subside, and life returns to normal but we long for permanence in these pleasures.

Our gratification from affection and affirmation can never fully satisfy our soul’s desire for love any more than one meal will permanently end our physical hunger. God designed us to experience and to express a degree of love that goes beyond the emotional and hormonal stimulation promoted on Valentine’s Day. Demonstrations of affection and appreciation are not insignificant, but they are insufficient to quench our soul’s desire to be loved without condition—not because of who we are or what we’ve done, but regardless or even in spite of ourselves.

The unconditional love we desire, God supremely demonstrated. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him…not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10).

His “Atoning sacrifice” satisfied the wrath of God against human beings who do not naturally love God but deserve His punishment because we resist and/or reject His rule in our lives (Romans 3:10). In spite of our rebellion, God made provision for us to “live through Him” (God’s Son) by sacrificing Jesus on the cross as our substitute (1 Peter 2:24). God’s loving forgiveness is extended to undeserving and unworthy humans. We experience the love of God (“live through Him”) by turning from our rebellion and trusting in Christ’s sacrifice in our place.

What believers experience, God expects us to express. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11) Andrew Murray tells us how we can learn to love: “…never until I begin to see that ‘God is love’…and begin to see that my glory…is to be like God and like Christ, in giving up everything in myself for my fellow-men.” (Absolute Surrender, Moody Press. p. 26).

“…Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Love looks less like an annual pursuit and promotion of pleasure and more like a daily sacrificial service through the power of the indwelling Christ.

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