The Source of True Love

     Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a special time to express your love in tangible ways.  An ad in a local card store read: ” ‘YOU ARE MY ONE AND ONLY’… Valentine cards, now on sale: Three for $5.”  (Think that one through!).  A young woman was taking an afternoon nap. After she woke up, she told her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s day. What do you think it meant?”  “You’ll know tonight,” he said. That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it–only to find a book entitled, The Meaning of Dreams!  

     The story of Valentine’s Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor Claudius II, and a humble Christian martyr Valentinus who, according to tradition, ministered to the blind daughter of the jailer, including introducing her to Jesus Christ. On the eve of his death, Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God and he signed it “From your Valentine.” He was executed the next day, February 14, 270 A.D. near a gate that was later named “Porta Valentine” in his memory. 

     It wasn’t until the 14th century that Valentine’s Day was established as a time to send messages of affection, love and devotion to loved ones.  The oldest known Valentine still in existence today is a poem written in 1415 by Charles Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. 

     Throughout history, man has expressed his thoughts on this thing called “love,” sometimes perceiving it as something wonderful, beautiful, and intense, and other times expressing the sorrow and anger caused by love scorned. Whatever the case, no one can deny that love is a powerful energy and emotion so intense in fact that mothers have immediately been overcome with Herculean strength to lift a car or huge boulder off their child. 

     But, just what is love?  Someone said, “Painting a picture of love is like painting a picture, not of Jello, but with it!”  It seems to be a rather mysterious thing that involves both our mind and heart and affects our relationships with and actions toward others.  Love is an essential ingredient for survival in a world of evil and hatred. Everyone needs to be loved–especially when we don’t deserve it.  “Anyone in the world can make something out of their life if they have one person that really loves them” (Glasser).  “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own” (Robert Heinslein). The best way to conquer an enemy is with the weapon of love. “Love is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained” (C.S. Lewis).  Love and time are the only things in all of the world that cannot be bought, only spent. 

     There are many barriers that separate people: language, culture, social status, political and religious beliefs, worldviews. Love transcends and breaks through those barriers. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend” (Martin Luther King, Jr.). 

     Most of what the world calls “love” has strings attached. “I will love you if….” (eros love) or “I love you because…” (phileo love),  but the love spoken of in Scripture is agape love, which is unconditional love and the only source is God (“God is love”…I Jn. 4:8),  and it is demonstrated by giving to meet a need of those who are undeserving and cannot earn it.  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Ro. 5:8).  “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I Jn.

4:9,10).  Note that while love involves feelings, it is primarily shown in action.  “God so loved that He gave…” (Jn. 3:16).  Love acts voluntarily and gives sacrificially to meet a need of another (who isn’t necessarily deserving).  We were lost in sin, in rebellion to God, and He lay down His life to pay for our sins so we could have eternal life and fellowship with Him.  “Amazing Love, how can it be that Thou my God shouldst die for me!”   Here’s God’s “Valentine” to us:

                    “For God so loVed the world

                            that He gAve

                                 His onL



                                           That whoever believes 

                                            In Him should 

                                            Not perish,

                             but have Everlasting life.”           John 3:16

Happy Valentines!

Forever His,

Pastor Dave


About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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