This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
Yayyyyy Valentines Day!
Don't get me wrong. I love LOVE. I love loving my wife. I love loving my kids. In general, I just love love.
But what I don't love is what our society tells us about what love is.
Goosebumps, heart racing, sweaty palms, lust, attraction.
You know what is the common denominator about all of those feelings of "love" we are encouraged to seek and "maintain"? They are about what that person does for YOU. When we celebrate something like Valentines day we are giving gifts and having dinners to tell that person how pleased we are that they make us feel a certain way.
Think of the things that you would typically hear on a Valentines date:
"You are so beautiful"
"You make me so happy"
"You do such nice things for me"
None of those statements or sentiments are themselves necessarily a bad thing. But they are not the core component of what love is. We dangerously build all of our romantical notions around the idea of what that person produces in us.
And, when they no longer create that sense of euphoria and desire in you anymore, than you have "fallen out" of love. Typically, the response of the world is that this is a sign that it is time to move on. They don't make your toes tingle anymore like that barista at the Free Trade Coffee bar does, so, go find love!!
What is Love? True love? Selfless love?
Jesus laid down his life for those who were his enemies. When Jesus went to the cross, he did not do it with the expectation that everyone was just going to start cleaning up their act and return his act of love consistently, or, at all. But he did it anyway. True love, the love that God designed us to desperately need, is found in not what others do for us, but giving up of ourselves for others.
When we live out of a sense of selfishness, whether consciously or not, we are creating a life where the love our soul cries out for will always be out of reach. We will just keep roving, hoping that around this next corner we will finally find it. But we won't. Because Love is not about getting. It is about giving.
Any time we base our satisfaction in the current status of our relationship based on the feelings it provides, we are in trouble. When we commit our hearts to acting and serving in love without expectation of getting, but only for the sake of their receiving, a funny thing begins to shift in our hearts and minds. We begin to discover a more permanent joy and satisfaction in the relationship. A love that surpasses the giddy feelings of "first love(attraction)" begins to develop and shape your entire perspective.
Where is your heart today? Are you still hoping to find love? Are you hoping to feel loved?
Begin to ask yourself who the primary relationships in your life are. Spouse, kids, parents, friends, co-workers. What would it look like to start loving them for their sake, and not yours? Even if it could cost you everything.
You can't do that alone. In our imperfect and sinful nature we are constantly seeking self gratification. Prayerfully and humbly come to the cross, seek the breaking of your selfishness, begin to make new choices that challenge the "comfort" of the ones you have made before. To experience the love your heart desires, stop doing the things you did before. Lay it down. It is worth it.
Best cards out there!