It’s February. For most people the significant thing that happens is Valentine’s Day. Even when I lived in Okinawa, I remember they celebrated “Pink Day” and “White Day,” which to me felt like Valentine’s Day, but one day for the guys and one day for the girls. As “they” say, “Love is in the air.”
Love is mentioned 310 times in the Bible. It makes sense, considering love is the main thing all of our faith was founded upon. I felt like with it being Valentine’s Day, love would be a great topic for this month’s devotional!
Love seems like it’s an easy thing, but it can be hard sometimes. I want you to take a moment and think about someone you don’t really enjoy spending time around. Maybe you don’t like them because they smell funny. Maybe they act “weird.” Maybe you don’t share the same political views, or you work with them and they have a completely different way of doing things than you do. Or, maybe you’re reading this at church and you know someone that sits on your council or leads in the church that you just can’t seem to mesh well with. Now, I want you to ask yourself one simple question. “How have I loved them today?” I don’t want you to try to justify you being “nice but distant” as love. We both know that is not love. Maybe I should be more specific. Have you loved them like God has loved you today? We know from the Bible that God has a love for us that is full of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and patience. We also know from the Bible that our second commandment is to love others as we love ourselves. The Bible also tells us some pretty important things about love.
“Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2
We are called to practice humbleness, and patience and love when we deal with one another. Even if that lady brings in tuna sandwiches every day for work. Even if that guy at church won’t stop moving the lighter to the altar candles to the wrong drawer every week. The thing is, we are all messed up a little. That is the entire purpose of the gospel. We are all our own little messes beyond repair, but God sees through those messes to the good and loves us through our struggles and our failures. So if we are called to love others, we should show them the same love that we are given. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” I think this short little verse says so much. Our love for others should be based on the love that we are so graciously and freely given. To me that is super meaningful, because that is such a small thing for God to ask of us in comparison to what He has given to us. When our love comes from a place of gratitude for the love that was given to us when we didn’t deserve it, I think it becomes more than a stilted politeness and more of a genuine love despite the flaws that other people have.
After reading this, what are some ways you can think of to love “that person” in your life that you have not been doing before?
Does knowing where your love comes from and why we are called to love others change your perspective on how you treat others? Why or why not?
Other key verses: John 15:12, 1 Peter 4:8, Hebrews 10:24-25 I would love to feature your studies or thoughts about this devotional on social media, whether you Bible journal, write a prayer, or just share your thoughts! TAG us on Instagram @styleandgracewithsteph and I’ll share your thoughts as well.
This devotional will also be a part of an upcoming project being unveiled in April. Stay tuned and follow the blog for updates!