It is February, and in case you didn't know, Valentine's Day is coming.
For many, this day will bring them some type of expression in the world of feelings that is needed desperately. For others, they will dig their relationship hole just a little deeper by ignoring the day all together.
The pressure is already beginning to mount. Will a card really express my feelings? Will it say more than I want to say? Do we need more candy? Does she care about flowers? Should we spend money we do not have, to celebrate a day we don't even get off work for?
The questions about our love expressions on Valentine's Day uncover bigger issues that are rooted deep inside us.
What is love? How do I know I am in love? How do I express my love to others? These are the questions Hollywood has made billions (of dollars) on because we desperately want the answers.
We want to know if we are missing something bigger, grander, or more passionate than what we have. We want to feel love, be in love, and know we are loved no matter what happens.
The Bible gives a clear definition of love. It tells us what love is. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7(NIV)
If you look at the Biblical definition of love, you begin to realize that love is a choice. Love is active. Truth be told, it is a checklist of things we can do to express our love. It cannot be reduced to a feeling because feelings cannot be trusted.
Love has become the most misinterpreted and misused word in our verbiage. We say we love our car, our house, the beach, our jobs, and in the same breath we look at our spouse and say, "I love you!"
We say we "made love." Love is not made when you have sex. You make brownies. You do not make love by having intercourse. God has designed the physical union in the sexual realm to be a powerful physical and spiritual bonding, but to say love can be made in a few moments of a physical encounter, reduces love to a biological function. Love is to be made daily in the choices we make.
This passage really tells us what love does. Every description describes how God loves those he has a relationship with. God is patient. God is kind. God wants us to have the best. God is not prideful. God is not rude. God is not easily angered. God keeps no record of wrongs. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes and never gives up. That is love. God is love.
Instead of looking for love in another relationship, consider yourself loved by your creator.
Before you give up on being in love, begin to love. Proper feelings follow proper actions. If your marriage is on the rocks, ask yourself if you love the other person the way scripture tells us to love them. Are you patient? Are you kind? Have you been jealous? Do you brag about yourself? Have you been too prideful? Are you rude? Have you been more concerned about your needs than the needs of others? Does your temper get the best of you? Do you keep a list of the other person's failures and use it as ammunition? Have you been completely honest? I am convinced that if we directed these questions to ourselves, that we could spend a lifetime trying to love, and in return we would never lack the love that we crave because of the person we have become.
Gordon Mularski is senior pastor of Treasure Coast Community Church, which meets on Sundays at 10 a.m. in the Jensen Beach High School Performing Arts Center, located at 2875 N.W. Goldenrod Road, in Jensen Beach.
For information, visit the Web site, www.TC3.org, or call (772) 334-3999.