With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, the following seems a most appropriate passage of Scripture:
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and in purpose. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others,” Philippians 2:1-4 NIV.
Though many times, Valentine’s Day is strictly associated with romantic love, Christian people ought to be reminded of the ultimate love found in Christ.
The kind of love we often see expressed on television, in movies and in books is mainly about physical attraction and having one’s own needs and desires fulfilled, but the ultimate kind of love thinks about others before ourselves and looks for ways to show that love to others.
No matter what kind of love we have for the people in our lives, it is this outward expression of love Paul describes that everyone should receive from Christians.
In other words, love has less to do with receiving gifts on one day of the year and more to do with putting others’ interests ahead of our own.
This should happen in romantic relationships, especially marriages, but also in relationships we have with friends and family.
To put some meat on that, it means we are to look for opportunities to demonstrate that kind of love.
We do not always have to have our own way. We can look for ways to make sure that someone else gets to have their way.
It means thinking about how our actions or decisions will affect other people and not just ourselves.
It means going out of our way to show we care by allowing someone else to go ahead of us in line, by stopping by someone who is in trouble and asking how we might be able to help out, by speaking to people with words of encouragement even though we ourselves might not be having a great day.
Christ is the one who gives us such tremendous love to share and a wonderful example of how we are to share that love with others.
Because we all receive love from the same source, we all should be striving to follow his example. To have the love of Christ in our hearts means we set aside not one day a year, but every day of the year to show the ultimate love to each other found through Jesus Christ alone.
Perhaps as Christians on the Kenai Peninsula we could actually sit down and make a list of things we can do to show love to others and then choose to accomplish at least one of those things each day throughout February.
Wouldn’t the peninsula be shocked to see so many people going the distance and sharing the love of Christ through simple acts of kindness to others?
What a difference we could make in the lives of so many.
Laura Skiba is pastor of North Star United Methodist Church at Mile 25.5 of the Kenai Spur Highway in Nikiski. Sunday school begins at 9:45 a.m. and worship is at 11 a.m. For more information, call 776-8732.
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