February 12, 2016.
Valentine's Day - Really!
Like many calender holidays, Valentine's Day has Christian connotations in its origin and intent. Going far back to the early church, where love for others meant sacrifice, even to the point of death.
The Empowered Christian
It is this sacrificial love that motivated and created Valentine's Day; setting the example, for many in the early church, as a way to imitate Jesus. For those who want to show their love for Christ by blood sacrifice - if we really think about it - they make Christ's crucifixion of no effect, and label God as being sadistic. God required one final blood sacrifice, and He does not need another. God sacrificed for us, with Jesus in love.
It is no coincidence, that of the three most requirements of hope, faith and love; love cannot be dismissed, and is the driving force for all other Godly principles (1 Corth. 13:13). God is love. And He demands our total love for Him, so that His complete expression of love for us, our life, can be possible. Too often, many of us, without reflection, dismiss how deep God's love is for us, especially with the holidays, like Easter, and Christmas, and the ritualism of ashes, standardized prayer, and music. For God, sending the Word to become flesh and blood was in itself a spiritual sacrifice for His love for us.
As with Valentine's Day, God's demonstration of His love is to bind and strengthen our relationship with Him. This is why love has different sides and degrees to it. For most of us, we shudder and shake at tough love. This love makes us uncomfortable and can be confrontational; resulting in misunderstandings and harsh results. Often, we walk away thinking "they don't really love me" but given enough time and honest reflection, come to realize, "they really do love me and had no choice but to use this tough love method". Today, some call it "an intervention".
Today, we celebrate and share this day with both sincerity of the heart, and ulterior motives. Without its history as a guide for us, it has become just another day that has been corrupted, to distract us from God. Valentine's Day is bombarded with advertising; taunting us to spend and indulge in a carnal (lower) love, rather than a spiritual expression. Sure, many of these expressions are genuine and in the spirit of things, we are forced to participate or risk being labeled as a prune. This carnal love is usually shown by some physical expression; an item and/or a pre-set of words on a bright red greeting card. There is no originality, and as with most things now in our society, it's the quick, convenient, and unconscious way of showing our affection, with very few giving any personal thoughts to others. The original intent and nature of sacrificial love is gone.
Jesus gave us the real, meaningful Valentine; with no other match to this day. When on Earth, He displayed many different roles. He was a priest, a leader/teacher, and a servant and in every interaction His role(s) are apparent. Consider this, if Jesus could only do one thing, before ascending to the Father, what would it be and which role would He be in. Many saw Jesus as a servant, healing and casting out demons; others as a teacher or leader. Yet, even though these roles demonstrated His persona and Faith the bible is very clear, from the beginning to the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus was foremost a priest (Ps. 110:4).
Beginning from the Old Testament, the priest was responsible to not only be chaste, and dedicated but also his main role or responsibility was to appease God, by sacrificing animals for the continued redemption of sins. Fast forward to the New Testament, with the new covenant; the appeasing and sacrificing for the redemption of sin was, and is, completed now and accomplished by Jesus. He became the one and only sacrifice required. The one thing that had to be done and truly needed was this sacrifice. Without it, salvation and all the promises could not be fulfilled because we would still be under the curse. When Jesus did this, He gave the ultimate Valentine's Day gift; the sacrifice of love by offering Himself for us - Jn 15:13, "no greater love than to give your self for others". He took the 'bullet', so we did not have to.
To know the love that supersedes any man-made creation, like Valentine's Day, we just need to read the Word and place ourselves standing beside God, as He makes decisions, and get an appreciation as to why His love can either be fearsome or compassionate. Jesus also demonstrated this with all, whether to a jew, a pharisee, a non-believer, or a roman. We also must realize in His public ministry, when speaking directly to a sect of people, was also speaking to every other sect present; for none at that time and today are perfect (Ecc. 7:20, Acts 10:34). In every action, deed, and word, Jesus expressed compassion, mercy, sacrifice, protection, and even anger in love. His purpose was to offer by sacrifice, His Father's love for all, because He desires all to be saved (Ez. 18:32, 1 Tim. 2:4). This is why red is used to symbolize love; from the heart, the blood, the irretrievable sacrifice, loss of oneself and giving for others; so that we may live, and live knowing, understanding and remembering the sacrifice Jesus gave.
Unfortunately, for many, Valentine's Day is just that; a day to celebrate love and show affection. A day which starts and ends but does not continuously express love. It's just another day event, once indulged, forgotten until the next scheduled date. In some ways it is just like the weekly church ministry or sermons. It is treated no different than a birthday; this day comes and goes as quickly as advertisers and retailers change their storefronts and marketing.
The love of God has no end and is not conditional; nor can be compared with carnal love. His love for us is all encompassing, and continues regardless of any external force, condition or failure on our part; agape. So this Valentine's Day, when you share a red card, flowers, or a gift, remember the One, who came and gave the very best Valentine's Day gift, with His blood; stained on His body, garments, cross and tomb and continues everyday, sacrificing because He first loved us.
Flush it Out! - Never barter God's love for man's.
ChristnMe @ 2013