Friday, February 13, 2009

Crazy Foolish Love

It's February. It's time, once again, to talk about Valentine's day, love, and every romantic thing under the sun. Though, just like I wrote about back in December, there is "nothing new under the sun." February 14th comes around every year; always yielding the same things: cards, flowers, candy, chocolate, true love (or monstrous heartbreak and loneliness), etc. The day is sweet and blissful for many, but sad and depressing for others.

Just like any holiday, we are losing sight of what we are celebrating. There is much history surrounding February 14th. You can read all about it at www.wikipedia.org. Though, to give a little background, there was once a Saint Valentine. He was a Roman priest who was imprisoned and eventually martyred because he dared to marry Christian couples (Christians were heavily and violently persecuted during that time - the likes of which many of us have never seen/experienced). Additionally, I also read once that the Romans were trying to build their army and they wanted to prevent single men from marrying and avoiding their call to serve.

The foundation of the day we celebrate is based on the bold, courageous, and passionate desire to risk all for what is good; in the name of genuine true love. Saint Valentine died because he believed that the marriage covenant between a man and a woman shouldn't be stifled by anyone. Furthermore, he was killed by the Emperor because of his attempt to evangelize and convert him during his imprisonment.

Maybe love really is blind, crazy, and foolish. After all, what person would willingly lay his life on the line in the name of love? Saint Valentine knew the risks before him, and yet he dared to love and encourage others to love too! Why? Because true love is worth living (and dying) for!! Saint Valentine knew what true love was because he believed in the one who modeled it for us: Jesus Christ. John 15:13 says: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Saint Valentine was following in the footsteps of his Master; The One who laid down His life for us as the ultimate expression of true love. How blessed we are that Jesus is so "crazily" and "foolishly" in love with us! If only we could be as crazy and foolish in loving others too!!

Like anyone else, I "love" Valentine's day. Everyone likes to love and be loved; to give and get things as an expression of those mushy feelings. However, as I mentioned, there is a greater love that is beyond anything we feel or do for the special people in our lives on Valentine's day. REAL love is a conscious and purposeful choice that we are to live out every day! We do that by looking to the cross, and allowing our heart to beat with that same sacrificial love that Christ has always had for us! Love is beyond feelings and emotions. Love is a person's heart in action - like the old DC Talk says, "Luv is a Verb". Love is real, tough, and not for the timid! Love conquers and covers all!! (1 Corinthians 13, 1 Peter 4:8). It pushes beyond the boundaries of safety. It's bold, risky, courageous, and good. It may be expensive and cost all you have (like it did for Jesus) but it's worth it! There will be times where your heart breaks and you may become discouraged when it comes to "going all out" to love others. You will likely be trampled on for loving people the way Jesus instructed us to, but wouldn't you rather be a "good Samaritan" and not the kind of person that just "passes by on the other side"? (Remember when Chad preached about that? Re-read this blog!).

I hope everyone has a blessed Valentine's day; filled with the hope and knowledge of what real love is! I pray that the core of what it means to love is something that we will cherish and display to people EVERY day beyond the 14th of February. I also pray that we would love beyond our spouses, family, friends, etc. Let us love those that don't love us back (Matthew 5:43-48), and go beyond what is necessary to show others what real love is! Let us bring the hope and joy of true love into the lives of those that know no hope or joy. Jesus invites us all to "be mine" and belong to Him; He died to make that possible! He's the GREATEST love because HE IS LOVE!! Amen!!

Grace and peace to all you "love fools." Continue being "crazy" about sharing God's ultimate valentine with the world!!

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