February 04, 2019
It’s that time of the year again!
The sidewalks and malls of Manila are painted with a different hue as variety of flowers, stuffed toys, and heart-shaped things flood each corner of the city.
It is interesting that even though February 14 is not declared a public holiday, Valentine’s Day is one of the most celebrated days of the year. People from all over the world acknowledge this day to celebrate love.
But what is love really?
Before Facebook, we had slam books (if you don’t know what this is, please ask your parents or older siblings about it). Each slam book would ask us to define love. There is no right or wrong answer. Everyone was free to give their definition and perception of love.
Remembering all the answers that we and our friends wrote gave us a good laugh, but it also made us realize how much we have defined love loosely and foolishly.
Most of the time, love was confined to an emotion, feeling, or sensation toward another.
We believe that’s where the problem lies. Not on the slam book, but on the notion that everyone can define love as he or she sees fit. This is why there is so much brokenness, pain, and hurt associated with love.
We desire the love we perceive and in turn, we give love the way we define it.
Whether we admit it or not, everyone wants to be loved.
But the way God defined love is so different from the way we have defined it.
I (Mye) am not fond of going out during Valentine’s. I feel like the season is too commercialized. The prices of food, flowers, and chocolates are unreasonable. Traffic is ridiculous. What’s more, I believe that we can celebrate love every day. Why should I dedicate all that love to one day?
But CJ would always insist on celebrating it. His reason: If the world who has a false notion of love celebrates it boldly, why can’t we? Realizing that there is truth to what he said, I obliged and simply bargained to escape traffic by celebrating it before or after the day itself.
The point is, as believers, are we convinced that we can boldly show the world the right way to love—the way Jesus encouraged us to do so?
In Philippians 1:9–11, Paul prayed for the saints in Philippi to grow in love. We can learn aspects of biblical love from this passage.
Knowledge and discernment are marks of biblical love.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment.
Biblical love is not about feelings or emotions. Biblical love is one that is informed and guided. Our information and definition of love should always be based on what the Word of God says, not on what the world says or tolerates.
1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that in a world that encourages self-centeredness, we can, in love, focus on others and be patient and kind. In a world that encourages competition, love reminds us that we do not have to envy or boast because our security comes from God alone.
In a world that encourages us to take pride in our accomplishments, love helps not be arrogant or rude because we know that apart from Christ, we are nothing. In a world that encourages us to give up easily, love is willing to bear, believe, hope and endure.
In a world where nothing seems to last, love never fails.
Purity is a mark of biblical love.
. . . so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.
Biblical love that is growing in knowledge and discernment results in godly living. Purity is an issue that most people shy away from because, most of the time, people view it as restricting, outdated, or impossible to achieve.
But the Bible reminds us that the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. (Titus 2:11,12)
This verse is so powerful because it tells us that the grace that rescued us from the power of sin is the same grace that will sustain us to stay away from it. It is possible to live a life of purity in this day and age!
Come to think about it, why do we have to limit the celebration of love to a day or month when God has called us to exhibit love as His disciples?
In John 14:34,35 Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
As disciples, love should be the mark of our lives. It is meant to be lived out, not just aspired. It is not just for those who are in a romantic relationship with another person, but it is meant to be displayed by everyone who professes to follow Christ.
In other words, if there are people who can best exhibit love the way it was intended to be, it should be us, the believers.
The way a Christian community relates to and treats one other should be a display to the world of how love should be.
Simply said, for Christians, every day should be Valentine’s day!