People crave romance. That’s why Valentine’s Day is the source of so much angst. People want to have their own “greatest love story of all times”. And they choose to believe in the cupids, candy, and hearts holiday. They want to listen to what the world considers the greatest love songs. Better yet, they want to experience it for themselves.
Real Love versus Fake Love
On Valentine’s Day, the secular world goes all out to celebrate romantic love. There will be tons of candle-lit dinners, moonlight strolls, flowers, chocolate, and big, red hearts. The words “I love you” will be in high supply even if the sentiment behind it is not.
Some of the love words will be heartfelt, others will be said because persons were caught up in a moment. I wonder though how many of us will choose to actually focus on the greatest love story of all time?
John 3:16 is probably one of the most well-known and well-quoted verses in the Bible, with good reason!
Wow! Just … wow. Can you imagine the amount of love it takes for a person to give up their only child for the sake of others? And, this “giving up” was not a “you can have him now but I have the right to visit and take him some weekends and holidays.”
Oh no. It was an “I know you won’t appreciate him. I know you will abuse him and laugh at him. I know that eventually, you’re going to kill him, but -”
“I know that in order for your lives to be saved, it’s something that needs to be done.”
Related: Jesus Died For Me
And there’s another level of love in this verse. The Son had to agree to subject himself to the Father’s will. He had to love us even more than he loved himself.
He had to love us enough to put our lives above his own; above the comforts of home, above the riches of his kingdom. The story of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf illustrates the difference between real love and fake love.
Fake love is concerned with only its wants and needs, while real love freely gives up everything for the other person even if it means death.
The Characteristics of Real Love
The Bible has much to say about love but one of the most famous passages is found in 1 Corinthians 13:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV).
The apostle Paul wanted his readers to understand how to differentiate between real love and fake love. When we read the story of Jesus dying for humanity as part of the plan of salvation, we quickly see how he hit everyone one of those markers.
He suffered at the hands of his creation when all he wanted to do was teach them about the love of God the Father.
He displayed humility and kindness at all times. Christ did not allow his circumstances to cause him to act in a way that brought dishonor to the Father. Instead, he continually put others before himself.
What the Bible Says About Love
As we strive to learn to appreciate the greatest love story of all times, it’s important for us to spend time in the Word of God studying what the Bible says about love. Here are just a few verses that either expresses what we can expect when someone loves us or how we should show love to others:
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love (1 John 4:18 ESV).
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10 ESV).
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses (Proverbs 10:12 ESV).
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14 ESV).
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 ESV).
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good (Romans 12:9 ESV).
Let all that you do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV).
The Greatest Love Story of All
Can you think of a greater love than the love God has for humanity? How many persons reading this right now would consider giving up their lives for their friends?
Would you die for one of your neighbors? Would you die for him, for her? Would you be willing to die for me?
I thank God that He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11 KJV) and that He willingly, even eagerly, offered his son for your sins and mine.
I’m thankful that Jesus subjected himself, even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). He gave his life that we may have the hope of eternal life. I pray that we will take a moment to ponder the greatest love story of all times.
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