Ah, Valentine’s Day.
On a day like this, our thoughts naturally turn to the sentimentality of love. We can’t help it! Since before the Black Friday sales were complete, pink and red hearts have been lining the aisles of stores, and the pop-up banners all over the web are convincing us to buy flowers, jewelry, and chocolate for those we love. The world has trained us well in this sentimental version of love through its movies, novels, music, and marketing.
In effect, you may be feeling lonely. You may not have a significant other in your life. Or perhaps the crazy-in-love-fairytale your marriage was supposed to be isn’t living up to that ideal. Maybe you are anticipating the let-down you know Valentine’s Day will inevitably hold. Perhaps you even feel like the love you’ve shown to others is underappreciated or not reciprocated. Let me encourage your heart today.
The Word of God reminds us of what love really is and where it comes from. It comes from the Father.
Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Our love and identity comes from the Father, and hearing Him speak affirmation over us is so very important. When we know who we are and we understand the Father’s love for us, it takes away our self-centeredness, self-preservation, and our need to have our acts of love reciprocated. If we serve others in order to receive affirmation, we are devastated when we don’t get it because we are empty and we don’t know our identity. We may even feel exhausted and worn-out. But if we serve others with a heart full of the Father’s love, we are not devastated if gratitude or affirmation doesn’t come. We are already full of the understanding of who we are. We find that we can forgive 77 times, because the love of the Father is in us.
Erik Spruyt, (LeRucher Mercy Ministries¹) while teaching here at CTCI said, “Jesus [became] the instrument of the Father to give us a new identity, a redeemed identity. Paul picks this up when he says it is the Spirit in you that cries out, “Abba, Father!” It’s the outpouring of that Spirit of Sonship that actually should give that internal security and acceptance and affirmation that we all crave for. And we can start from that. We never have to deserve that, we can start from it, and it can become the motivating force in our lives.”
Jesus began His earthly ministry with the loving affirmation of the Father, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Before He had done any miracles or works, the Father’s love filled Him fully. He did not have to earn it; His identity was sealed. It was from this identity that He was able to pour His life out completely to mankind in obedience to the Father, even to the point of giving His very life for those who mistreated Him.
Take time this Valentine’s Day to hear the approving word of the Father over your life. “You are my beloved son/daughter, in whom I am well pleased.” Before you’ve done a thing, before your serving, before your good deeds – the Father’s approval is yours through Christ Jesus. Know that it is true because He said that it is true in His Word. And let that be the motivating force behind the love you pour out to those around you.
Happy Valentines Day <3
Erica Wilson, Heroes Team
1 Erik & Jeltje Spruyt are the founders of LeRucher Mercy Ministries International in Geneva, Switzerland. LeRucher works in the areas of Member Care, Ethnic Reconciliation and Community Development. They equip cross-cultural missionaries working with the least evangelized, highly traumatized, least developed, and/or complex humanitarian emergencies. Erik’s teaching at CTCI in April 2014 helped to inspire this post.