Valentine’s Day is almost too easy these days. The retailers make it so. At least for those men somewhat paying attention. What’s it got to do with Jesus? ♦
Valentine’s Day is this Sunday. This year men have to think about the implications of that special someone receiving a dozen roses on the weekend vs. an easy workday delivery date. I selected a Friday delivery and decided to make it a Valentine’s Weekend. This puts the onus on me to be a great guy for an extended period beyond just the perennial 1 day of treats, a nice card, lunch (maybe) and an expensive dinner out.
But even with my good, bold, and extended intentions, I’m still left with a feeling of shallowness. What’s missing?
I can tie this to one’s Christian faith.
Good and Holy Intentions
We want to be good. We want to be faithful to God and will even go to extra lengths to show our devotion. We tell ourselves that we’ll really read the Bible this year, or sign up for that Bible Study group, or do that daily devotion for more than a few weeks after we start, or pray more, or be a nicer person, etc., etc.
It’s an activity list that lulls us into thinking we’re on a holy path that is pleasing to God.
Actually we are on a right path, but like a Valentine’s Day love action list, it’s missing something big.
Love is Devotion in Action
As explained in last year’s Valentine Day post (see A Christian Valentine, Feb 14, 2015), a man named Valentine was a Roman priest who was tortured and killed during the reign of Emperor Claudius in the year A.D. 269. His crime: refusing to obey the edict that prohibited young people from marrying (the Romans believed single men made better soldiers).
He was given a chance to renounce his following of Christ in exchange for his life. He refused. He was beaten, stoned, and decapitated.
Now that’s devotion.
I re-read my 2015 Valentine’s Day post and have been reinvigorated in my quest to move beyond my dutiful but superficial holiday plans. Last year I wrote a simple but challenging list of behavioral, proactive actions for one’s special loved one. I’ve added some probing questions:
- Be eager to please and make happy. (Are you eager for her joy and happiness?)
- Be patient, kind and thoughtful. (Really showing kindness, patience and thoughtfulness?)
- Be tender, sweet and gentle. (Is there a tenderness about everything you do for her?)
- Be unselfish and humble. (Do you put her first or are you self-serving and prideful?)
- Be friendly and forgiving. (Do you bitterly hold grudges?
- Be good and noble. (Are you one of the good guys?)
- Be joyful and uplifting. (Do you make her joy-filled and feeling better about herself?)
- Be peaceful and faithful. (Is there real peace and faithfulness in your home?)
- Speak words of devotion and love. (Do you cherish her with words?)
- Express admiration and desire. (Do you admire her and show desire for her?
- Touch and be lovingly demonstrative. (Do you lovingly touch and hold her?)
Yes, these actions may read like a Good Husband Love List, but they actually reflect the Biblical call to us married men:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. (Ephesians 5:25-26)
Jesus loved and died for the Church (the new Way, the Christian Church, not Judaism or what became a distorted Roman Catholic Church). In that sense he modeled for us true Love, serving love. And we’re to love our wives like that, in practice loving her in Christ-like ways that are anything but selfish, base, mean, ruling, loud, impatient, and sullen.
I believe the heart can be influenced by actions. If we follow Jesus, then we seek to obey Him, even unto death. If we obey Him in these orders to “love our wives” like He loves the church, then we’re called to some serious business, not trite love notes.
This year take Valentine’s Day to heart. Love your wife with right, deep, even holy resolve. Move in actions that reflect character, character that is being molded by the power and love of God in your own spirit and life. I know our marriages will be the better for it. Your wife will certainly love and appreciate the card, flowers and candy. But she’ll absolutely love the man for the person he is and is becoming.
Are you going to love your wife on Valentine’s Day like Jesus?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5