I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.
Did you know that, according to a study done by Pew Research Center, 88% of Americans report that love is still their number one reason for getting married? That’s right, love ranked higher than making a lifelong commitment (81% also ranked this as a “very important” reason) and the need for companionship (76%)— and way over financial stability (only 28%)!
Statistics aside, this month offers a reminder that people of all ages love the idea of love. Store shelves are stocked with goodies and gifts for Valentine’s Day. Card racks are filled with an array of adoring messages you can send. And of course, flower stands seem to pop up on every corner right before the 14th rolls around. This shouldn’t surprise us either since, as creations of a loving God, we seem to be pre-wired with the desire to love and be loved.
In Scripture, we also discover that we are encouraged to express this God-given ability on a regular basis. Let’s look at Ephesians 5:2 to find one reminder:
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Spend a minute mulling over that first phrase: “Live a life filled with love.” What would this look like to you? How would you act toward others if you intentionally strove to fulfill this exhortation each day? How would you hope others might respond if you were living a life that seemed to overflow with loving attitudes and actions?
Obviously, none of us can come close to attaining this type of loving lifestyle without help from the One mentioned in the rest of that verse. Christ’s devotion and sacrifice are beautiful examples of what true love looks like. Jesus totally gave of Himself—without thought of a “return on investment”—so people’s lives could be transformed. That’s why it’s only with His divine assistance, day in and day out, that we can really love others. Indeed, this is a calling given to each of us who follow the Lord:
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (John 13:34-35
Even though you may really want to love like Christ does, it won’t be easy. For instance, what do you do when:
- Someone you care about doesn’t want to be loved?
- An individual in your life spurns your love?
- A person you know mocks you for trying to live in kind, compassionate ways?
- Somebody says he or she loves you, but then he/she stops?
The list could go on and on. And while I always recommend setting healthy boundaries, you can still have a loving attitude—even in worst-case scenarios. In fact, in I Choose Love! I explain how there are situations and seasons of life when you may need to “love someone from a distance.” In other words, you can still pray for that individual, even if you’ve had to step away from the relationship.
The bottom line for all of us, whether married or single, is that we are designed to be loving beings just like God intended—and He can help us live up to that potential if we let Him. As we do so, not only will our lives be healthier and happier, but we’ll also be setting a great example for others of what the Lord’s love is all about!
Thought of the Week
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
I John 3:18