I remember the days of anticipation of what I would find tucked inside my heart-shaped pouch made of construction paper and glitter. Notes of acceptance and encouragement like “You’re the bomb!”, “I’m TOADally yours”, or “You’re purr-fect” came complete with pictures of explosive devices, amphibians, or furry felines to match their sentiment. Lol. The things that spoke love to our young hearts.
Even now, one of my favorite Valentine sentiments to receive from someone is “Be Mine.” I love this one because it says, “I want to be in a relationship with you.” And I am big on relationship. I love people. I think I came out of the womb exclaiming, “I’m here! Let’s be friends.”
I think my love relationship with God may have started in the same way. He said, “Here I am” and I said, “Be mine.” Love and relationship are what God is all about, after all. The greatest commands are to “love God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor.” Be in a love relationship with Me and those around you is what God is saying in His Word. These two things are the very basis for every other command for in the Bible. Our problem is we don’t really know what love is or how to show it sometimes.
Here’s a place to start:
God is love.
If we want to see God’s love in action, then we need to go no further than the stories of Jesus. In John 8, Jesus states that He did nothing on His own initiative. He always acted in accordance to who God was. Read the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John— for yourself to see how Jesus lived a life that showed us how to love.
There is also good information on what love is contained in some of the other books of Scripture. Most of us are familiar with the love passage of 1 Corinthians 13. It is quite often read at weddings, but its information is meant to be used in all relationships, giving us an actual check list of what love is and what it isn’t. I especially love the first part—
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have faith to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all that I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
It essentially says, we can appear to have all the right words, know all there is to know, possess great quantities of faith, even making huge sacrifices for good, but if we do not love—it means nothing. Love needs to rule our every action. Without it, our efforts are useless.
That’s where the verses that follow come it. They describe what it looks like to love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is nor proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 4-7
It goes on to say things like the right words, knowledge, faith, and sacrifice, they will disappear. But love never fails. Read 1 Corinthians 13 for yourself here.
The chapter ends with “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man. I put away childish things.” Paul’s words point out loving any other way is childish. Now that we know what love is, we must act accordingly. We have been called to love with a love that is patient and kind, that honors, protects, and always hopes.
So, when God says, “Be Mine,” our yes will be in our actions.
Because “the one who keeps God’s commands lives in Him, and He in them.”
1 John 3:23
Are you His?
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and truth.”
1 John 3:18