He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” Luke 10:27
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!
Today marks the equivalent to Black Friday for florists, (and maybe chocolatiere's too) when Americans shell out tens of thousands of dollars on cut roses and chocolates to express their love for their special someone. Beginning February 1st, Valentine's orders start trickling into local florist shops, but nothing compares to the onslaught they'll receive today. (Trust me on this. I worked in a florist shop once. So be kind to your florist even if they seem a bit prickly or impatient. They've talked to hundreds, if not thousands, of customers and it's not even noon, yet.)
Now, I like a good dark chocolate truffle and I love it when anyone gives me flowers, especially my husband, but I don't like man-made holidays like Valentine's Day. It puts a lot of pressure on everybody concerned and since everyone else is getting the same gift, the sentiment seems, well, insincere. My thought? If you don't know you're loved except on February 14th every year, then check the temperature of your relationship.
I know, I'm sounding a bit snarky but here's the deal: if you love someone with all your heart (like your Valentine's Day card says you do) then it's a 24:7, 365 committment, not a once-a-year heart (and wallet) indebtedness.
Now that I've put the fear in Valentine's gift-giving, let me go a bit deeper here...and maybe I'm reaching...Don't we sometimes express our love for God like this when we reserve our greatest display of sentiments for him for Christmas and Easter?
When an expert in the Jewish Law asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself " (Luke 10:27). If we say we love someone with all our heart and soul, mind and strength then we can't help but express our love for them every day. Our heart actually aches when we're separated from them and feels at peace when they're closeby. When we love someone with everything we are, we express it at least daily, if not more.
Then, are we doing that with God? If we say we love him with all of our being, then shouldn't we express our love for him more frequently? If we checked the temperature of our God relationship what would it be? Hot, lukewarm, tempid, cool, or down right frigid? What if we got honest with God and asked him, "Do you know I love you?" Would we have the courage to hear his answer? Would God's answer be, "Yes, of course I know you love me. You tell me every day" or, would His answer be like a Valentine's lover? "Ummm. I know you love me on February 14th, but other days, not so much. I sure wish you'd let me know more often."
If we honestly love God with everything we are, then how do we show our affection every day and throughout the day? Here's a few suggestions:
- Spend designated time alone with him every day
- Listen more than talk
- Read his love letters (the Bible) and write him some
- Share your intimate thoughts through prayer or journaling
- Let him know you're thinking of him even when you're busy
- Include him in your decisions by asking his opinion on things
- Trust his lead
- If he asks you to do something, do it
- Talk about him around your friends and coworkers
- Worship him alone and corporately with other believers
- Make your whole life an act of worship
Forgive me if I take you for granted or blatently leave you waiting for my words of affection. I do love you with all of my heart and with all of my soul. I love you with all of my mind and the strength that's within me. Thank you for your grace and mercy, for your perfect and unfailing love.
P. S. Minus the last two points, the suggestions above work well at raising the temperature in your earthly relationships, too.