By Robyn Spradlin
Every February, florists, jewelers, restaurants, greeting card companies,
chocolatiers and bakeries, and party supply stores prepare far in advance for
the crowds who want to express their love for that special someone. Perhaps, you
go with a bouquet, a piece of jewelry, reservations at a favorite restaurant, a
greeting card, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, or a box of coconut macaroons,
my personal favorite with red heart-shaped balloons tied to it because it’s
According to GourmetGiftBaskets.org, 224 million roses are grown specifically for Valentine’s Day. Another interesting tidbit is that 64% of men buy flowers for a woman, while 61% of men would like to receive flowers from a woman on Valentine’s Day. The website also points out that Valentine’s Day is worth $18.6 billion—$1.9 billion for flowers, $1.6 billion for candy, and $4.4 billion for diamonds. The average American will spend $116.21 on Valentine’s gifts, meals, and entertainment. The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that 190 million Valentines are given annually—half of those to family members other than a spouse, like a parent or a child.
The celebration of Valentine’s Day centers on love or at least society’s definition of love, but Scripture has plenty to say about celebrating and knowing the love of God. For example, the bulk of 1 John 4 focuses on the love of God, with a direct connection to John 3:16,
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Beginning in 1 John 4:7, the apostle urges his readers to love one another. Why? For God is love, and those who love are born of God and know God. Verse 8 points out that those who don’t love don’t know God. Why? Because God is love. The text continues elaborating on the love of God manifested by Jesus coming as the sacrifice for our sins and that love doesn’t exist because we loved God but that He first loved us. Many beautiful truths lie between verses 8 and 14; however, for our purpose, we can take up the text at 14.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
1 John 4:14-17 KJV
Christians believe in the truth of Jesus coming in the flesh to seek and save that which was lost. Believers have the love of God in our hearts because the Holy Spirit is present in our lives, see Romans 5:5. We undergo a transition out of darkness into His marvelous light according to 1 Peter 2:9 because 1 John 1:5 teaches us that God is light and “in Him is no darkness at all.”
Someone might ask how this connects with Valentine’s Day and God’s love. It connects where our believing and knowing intersect with God’s loving and giving and our loving one another.
It is easy to believe the love of another when they are showering us with gifts, goodies, sweet words of affirmation or praise, their physical touch or caress. Romantic relationships are often filled with such activities, and “falling in love” can be disastrous. I’ve often said, “When you fall into anything, you’re probably going to get hurt.” However, all these elements represent our “perception” of their love for us. We believe in their love. As the relationship grows, we come to know their love. Why? Love is intentional and consistent.
How does this connect with our knowing and believing in the love of God? In the same way, we come to feel and know human love; we come to know and believe in the love of God. Spending time with someone and getting to know them brings that relationship to a place of security and trust.
The more time we spend with the Lord, especially in His word, the more we know Him and believe His love. The Greek word #1097 translated know is defined – allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know(-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand. While #4100 translates believe and defined – to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ):—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
In other words, the more understanding, knowledge, awareness, and surety we have of His love, the more we will believe it – the more faith we will have in it – the more we’ll trust in Him. It is with intentionality we do this.
We love God because we know and believe in His love. He loves us; we love others because He lives in us, loving through us. There is a shift in perspective, and we begin to know and believe His love. We adopt a new mindset of loving because our love is made perfect or complete, and we become more like Him, partakers of His love and sharing it with others.
All Scripture quotes from King James Version.
Photos by Jesse Goll, Denise Johnson, Mandy Von Stahl, and Jussara Romao on Unsplash.