If you didn’t know today is Valentine’s Day, then you obviously haven’t been shopping lately. It’s a marketing mini-fest before the easter eggs hit the shelves in earnest.
It is fashionable to be dismissive of Valentine’s Day, of course. I was asked last night at church, “do you do Valentine’s Day?” with a jesting tone that suggested only one answer was acceptable. That same tone seems to permeate many church discussions on the whole subject of love. Somehow love seems to be treated as if it were on a par with Valentine’s wishes.
Thus love is referred to as some sort of fluffy nonsense, unless it can be recast as a decision of the will, some kind of determination to do right for someone without any acknowledgement of motivations playing a part. It is stunning where some definitions of love lead us in respect to how God has revealed Himself in Scriptures, as opposed to how He is presented in our theology.
I have found an illustration Ron uses to be particularly helpful on this matter. He acknowledges that feelings and emotions can be as fluffy as wispy clouds, moving in every direction and very fickle or fleeting. But another form of the same element of water is rock hard solid packed ice. Not fickle in the slightest.
Rather than dismissing the heart and all aspects of emotion by analogy to steam or clouds, why not recognize the biblical teaching of the affections? Why go from fluffy clouds to some totally different entity (i.e. decisions of the will), instead of recognizing that the same entity can be found in the form of rock solid ice?
Thus my marriage thrives not because I turn from Valentine’s fluffiness to something other than affection, but because as well as the more sentimental elements (which are important, married men, what are you doing that is “fluffy” today?), there is also the rock solid ice of deep love for my wife, a love that would drive me to extreme lengths for her.
What does the Bible say? Does it say that love cannot be trusted and so should be dismissed? Or does it say that love has to be redefined as a heart-less, emotion-less, cold decision of the will? Or does it manifest the rock solid ice, as opposed to fluffy and fleeting nature of God’s love for us?
God demonstrated His love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. The Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Etcetera.
Biblical love is much more than the fleeting and fluffy sentimentality of the current marketing mini-fest. But let’s be careful to avoid an overreaction into a love-less theology. The next marketing mini-fest is Easter. Speaking of rock solid love in action! Yet Easter is slightly different: we don’t tend to overreact to chocolate eggs and dismiss the true Easter from our theology!
We are very excited to be starting the first season of Cor Deo tomorrow morning. Can we ask for your prayers for us in the coming days, that the group will gel as we study, serve and grow together? Thank you for praying for Cor Deo, we really do value your encouragement and support.