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cross and heart-shaped leaf collage

image courtesy of Billy Frank Alexander Design

Happy Valentine’s Day! Though the holiday originated as a feast day in the Catholic Church in honor of one or more Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, it gained its romantic connotations perhaps as early as the medieval period in Europe. Certainly, by the 17th century, literary references to Valentine’s day are evident in French and English poetry.

Love, though, in its most powerful form, is not the romantic love of quickened heartbeats and swooning heads. Intense physical reactions to attraction are short-lived. Deeper love is transformative, uplifting, and selfless. God’s love is deeper than we are capable of understanding, but when we seek it, we gain the power to transform lives.

Here are some illustrations of God’s love shared with us through Jesus Christ – words preserved by Paul, Matthew, and John. I hope they touch your life today as sweetly as they did mine as I gathered them up for you.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
-John 3:16

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Romans 8:38-39

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:36-40

For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. -John 1:17

“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.  Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
-John 14:21-23

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
-John 13:34-35

“When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.”
-John 15:10