“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
When we think of Valentine’s Day, we typically think about roses, chocolate, and greeting cards. On average, Americans spend over $13 million each year on gifts and dining each year on our valentines.
But not everyone enjoys this holiday. All of this commotion can be exasperating for those not in a meaningful relationship. This day can also put unneeded stress on those currently in a relationship. In fact, a recent study concluded that 53% of women said they would end their relationship if their so-called “significant other” didn’t get them something for Valentine’s Day. Love is hard… and I think God designed it that way! This is why the psalmist warns us to “guard our hearts.”
In other words: Be careful what or who you love.
Misplaced affection can lead you down a path you don’t want to take. Think of all the collateral damage caused by greed (i.e. love of money), alcohol abuse, drug dependence, sexual addiction, and toxic people. Broken relationships, broken homes, and broken people result when we give our best years to things and individuals who can’t love us back.
For this reason, Jesus said the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
In his book, True Worship: The Gateway to Intimacy with God, Bryan Williams points out that many of us conclude that that the way we love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind is to love our neighbor as ourselves. But this is inconsistent with scripture. Helping a disabled person across the street, for example, is actually a great example of loving your neighbor as yourself, but this outward action doesn’t have to contain your heart, according to Bryan. Even atheists run charities.
God wants—no, demands—our deepest affection because He’s the only One who can truly love us back. Our love and affection are expendable commodities; if we waste them on the wrong things, we have nothing left to give. But when we love Him first and most, He gives us the ability to love others like ourselves.
On this Valentine’s Day and EVERY day, Jesus is asking you to “be mine.”
Bryan’s book is available on Amazon at True Worship: The Gateway to Intimacy with God: T. Williams, Bryan: 9781649531766: Amazon.com: Books