Happy Greatest Commandment Day!

Happy Greatest Commandment Day!

It’s Valentine’s Day, so of course I need to write my article about love. In 1 John 4:8, it says that “God is love.” It says that if you don’t love you don’t know God. That seems pretty straightforward. Jesus said that people will know we are his disciples by how we love one another (John 13:35). Jesus also said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13). When asked about what the greatest commandment was, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God will all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind.” And then He said, “The second is like it in that we should love our neighbor as ourselves” (Matthew 22:36-40).

It has been taught often that there are different Greek words for love. One means brotherly love, one reflects romantic love, still, another family love, and the pinnacle is agape, which is unconditional love. I think if you looked up the Greek word for love in all of the examples of Scripture above you would find that they all use agape.

I don’t know if we too often take a step back or a silent moment and think about what it means for God to unconditionally love us. I think we would say that we unconditionally love certain people in our lives. However, are there conditions in which you would take love toward that person or those people off of the table? What is something that someone could do or say that would cause you to question your love for him or her?

Thankfully, God doesn’t have a list of things we do that would preclude us from receiving his love. In Romans 5:8 it says, “That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In John 3:16 it says, “...whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” God unconditionally loved the world so much that He gave His Son.

I was reading today that we don’t know where the whole idea for Valentine’s Day came from. They are all legends. And most of them have nothing to do with chocolate and flowers. But, we DO know where true love comes from. It comes from the God who created us, loves us, and wants to spend eternity with us.

As well as being Valentine’s Day, today is also Ash Wednesday. This day kicks off a season of Lent. Lent is 40 days in which people give something up leading up to Easter. Presumably, the thing given up is so people can draw closer to God by grieving, fasting, and praying. Ash Wednesday is about our love for God and Valentine’s Day is highlighting our love toward another.

I have a challenge for you. What’s something you can do over the next 40 days to improve your relationship with the God who unconditionally loves you? And, since we are in a marriage series, what is something you can do over the next 40 days to improve your marriage?

Regardless of how you celebrate, acknowledge, or ignore Valentine’s Day or Ash Wednesday, be sure and praise God today for his love toward you. 

Andy B.