Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love is a Decision

Pastor Tim Howard
February 16, 2010

Can you remember some of the Valentine cards you received back in grammar school days? The ones that said “You’re Cute,” “Be Mine” or “I Love You.” Giving cards was a great way for friends to express love, kindness and affection in a lighthearted way.
St. Valentine's Day is an annual holiday that celebrates the importance of friendships on every level and is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine. If you were to describe this day with one word, many people would use the word LOVE. Another term I’ve often heard is ROMANCE.

Romantic love was connected to the Valentine day celebration back in the Middle Ages and will still play a major role when people celebrate this Valentine weekend. Thousands of cards will be given, many flowers will be purchased, millions of people will be kissed and someone who is romantically involved will speak the words, “I love you”.

Romantic love is exciting, exhilarating and even enchanting but not everlasting. It fades over time because it is a love that’s rooted in the emotions and motivated by desire. It’s quite powerful and brings extreme pleasure to people. But the love that lasts and lasts is a love of devotion not a love of emotion. The love of devotion is rooted in a covenant and a commitment and doesn’t quit when desire is long gone.
The love of devotion is discussed in 1 Corinthians 13. Some call it the Love chapter in the Bible. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” This type of love is called ‘agape’ in the original language of the New Testament and refers to a divine love. I’m glad to know that truth because when these scriptures are read, I’m acutely aware of my need for some help. I can’t love that way in my own strength. I need God!

God wants you to find true love on every level. He’s willing to teach you about the different kinds of love and how to love people as He loves people. The love of emotion is based on a desire but the love of devotion is based upon a decision. Every time a mother decides to change a baby’s diaper, even though she has no desire to do so, she exercises agape love. Whenever you decide to sacrifice something for the benefit of another by putting their need before your desires, you express agape love. Lasting love is a decision!

Maybe you are feeling unloved right now. Maybe someone told you they loved you but it didn’t last and now you are alone again. I encourage you to visit one of the many Church families in Kings County this weekend and I pray that you will understand the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love for you. The Bible says God is love and His agape will never cease.

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