Love is on the hearts and minds of many this week as Valentine’s Day approaches. Paul talks about love in his first letter to the Corinthians, but he isn’t talking about Valentine’s Day love. Agape isn’t about romance; it is something much deeper. Valentine’s is more about lust and who gets the biggest bouquet, the best chocolates, the most expensive card. That isn’t the love Paul had in mind.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:1-7 NLT)
Lust is anxious, jealous, boastful, and definitely keeps score. It doesn’t last and offers little hope. There is no shortage when it comes to lust because it depends upon excess. It breeds and spreads like a wildfire when ignited, but agape develops slowly over time and lasts into eternity. There is nothing more precious in this world or the next.
Our world loves lust, and that creates an environment that revolves around wanting what others have. I no longer want just what I want, I want what I think you want too. Many tears and much blood have spilled as a result of the wanting lust inspires. I’ve fallen prey to lust, but I’ve also experienced agape. Feeling the joy of having someone hear my heart and love me no matter what is changing me beautifully. Being embraced and loved as I am is allowing me to become more than I imagined I could be, That’s the power of love that listens.
Love changes my wants, and that was the sweet message God had for me this morning. I used to dread Valentine’s Day and buy myself a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers to help ease the pain of wanting what I thought I was missing. This year, I’m celebrating agape and plan to enjoy the week with my sweet little granddaughters and my loving friends. My heart is filled to overflowing with love that listens, and it doesn’t get any better than that. I’ll share some chocolate with the girls and help them make cards, but I won’t be pining for what I’m missing because I’m learning that what I have is so much more than what I used to want.