Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Just As I Am Without One Plea"1 (Lyrics)
Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (NIV)
1 John 4:19 – We love because he first loved us. (NIV)
Once in a while, I enjoy doing a word puzzle to enhance my vocabulary and concentration skills. The goal of one particular game was to find as many words as possible within the phrase, REMEMBER YOUR VALENTINE.
It is believed that these words were spoken by a condemned priest named Valentine during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius II. Allegedly, in times of war, Claudius made it illegal to marry. He supposed that this law would benefit his empire by encouraging the men to be better soldiers. Nevertheless, Valentine continued to perform weddings in secret, until he was arrested and sent to jail. While in prison, he sent letters to friends asking them to pray for him by writing, "Remember your Valentine." Subsequently, he was executed on February 14th, around the year 269 AD.
Whether or not this story is true, I was struck by how the Valentine's Day tradition arose out of sacrifice and martyrdom. This in turn is related to the high cost of Christ's love for us, and we, His church, are called to be His beloved bride.
Interestingly, the Bible's first mention of the word "love" appears in Genesis 22:2, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice "your only son, Isaac, whom you love". The Lord, however, provided a ram instead — a beautiful picture of what God would do many years later in giving us His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)
This verse depicts God's unconditional love in action — yet it doesn't stop there. Through Christ, we are also redeemed and adopted into the family of God.
1 John 3:1 – How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (NIV)
Therefore, while we give Valentine cards and gifts to our loved ones, above all let us not forget our most precious Valentine: the One who laid down His life for us.
Consider this: What then can we do to show that our love is reciprocal? In what ways can we follow His example, walking together in love as brothers and sisters in Christ?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we recognize and appreciate the true nature of Your love as You have revealed it through the precious gift of Your Son. In His holy name, we pray. Amen.