This time of year, many people think about how they're going to celebrate Valentine's Day.
Many couples go to dinner, a movie, or do something innovatively romantic. If you're not in a relationship with a significant other, this blog posting is still for you. Why you may ask? Well, read on and I'll explain.
What is love? Some would say it's a feeling you get. It could be a feeling you get when you're with a favorite pet or a close friend.
Others will say that love is an action you take once or twice a week like washing clothes. A mundane chore.
Still others will say love is some sort of cosmic mysticism that no one really understands, but that you can become one with if you try hard enough.
So what do you say love is? Let's look a bit at the word itself and where it comes from.
The Free Dictionary says love is: "A strong feeling of affection or concern for another person, as that arising from kinship or close friendship."
There are also another 8 definitions of love that I won't go into. But you must ask yourself, what really is love?
The ancient Greeks had four definitions of love.
Agape is the term used for God's love for man as a Father loves His children.
The second word is Eros for what we would think of as sexual love. Cupid is often mistaken as Eros, but was the Ancient Roman interpretation of the same desire in their mythology.
The third word Philia means affectionate regard, or friendship. We often equate brotherly love with the City of Philadelphia. I'm not sure Philadelphians would consider their city that brotherly or loving!
The fourth word is Storge. This means affectionate love especially of that for parents to children.
When we say the word love, it's filled with multiple meanings. No wonder we get so confused!
To add to the confusion, we hear marketing geared to us about how to 'love' your car again or we hear from 'religious' types that you're only supposed to love God but it's sometimes said in a judgmental way. And while it's true that we need to love God first and foremost, we must also love others.
All of these different voices defining love can leave us with a lot of uncertainty about what it really is.
There is someone who cleared up the confusion for us. His name is Jesus Christ.
Jesus stated very plainly what love is in Mark 29-31: Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
He also showed us that love is an action word by dying on the cross so that we could be reconciled to God.
If you're like me and have ever felt alone, forsaken, abused, or discarded, there is love for you. It's unconditional and it never fails.
It's the love that only God can provide and is there freely. There is no cost to this free gift, God's love.
My desire for you this Valentine's Day is that you would know how deeply loved and treasured you are. It doesn't matter what you've done or where you are, God loves you.
The heavens declare His love for you, and me!