“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
1 John 4:7-8, ESV
This week is Valentine’s Day. A day that Hallmark has set aside to celebrate love and make a whole lot of money. Perhaps at the time of your reading this, Valentine’s is a mere afterthought or many seasons away. The idea of “love” is both highly relevant while also seemingly unattainable, an expression overused. After all, we use the same word to describe our relationships with tacos, a sports team, a spouse, and God himself.
As the title of his book, The Four Loves, would suggest, C.S. Lewis describes four types, or faces, of human love: affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God - all stemming from God himself as the source of all pure love. In fact, the apostle John even describes God himself as love.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
How can this be true? As Lewis writes, divine love is gift-love. “The Father gives all He is and has to the Son. The Son gives Himself back to the Father, and gives Himself to the world, and for the world to the Father, and thus gives the world back to the Father too” (Lewis, 11).
As we contemplate our calling in the world, may we be a gift-giving people. Who needs a gift from you this week? Maybe it’s the gift of a caring hug, words of forgiveness, or an encouraging word. And in doing so, may we share God’s true love with the world.
Action: This week make two lists: on list one brainstorm different gifts God in his love has given you. On the other list, make a list of different ways you can gift others love this week. Pray over the first list as a reflection of gratitude and get started intentionally gifting others.