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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Anne Robertson

Monday, February 14

God is love.
—1 John 4:8

I don’t like Valentine’s Day. As a single person with two failed marriages (one of which ended on Valentine’s Day), I don’t relish the focus on the delights of romantic love. I know that couples need all the support they can get and that those in dead-end relationships can be even more miserable on Valentine’s Day than I am, but still I tend to face the day by pulling the covers over my head.

Despite my aversion to Valentine’s Day, I do believe that the celebration of love is a helpful reminder. From beginning to end, the Bible seems to tell us that love is what matters most to God. Jesus says that love of God, neighbor, and self is the most important commandment, drawing the words from two verses from the Torah. Paul tells us that without love not even mountain-moving faith is worth a flip, and John tells us that love isn’t just what God does, love is what God is.

Love as the essential nature of God puts love in an entirely different category from every other virtue. If God is love, then any attribute of God is a manifestation of love. So, for example, patience is how love is expressed in times of frustration; generosity is how love is expressed in times of need; truth is how love is expressed in speech.

If God does it, it is loving by definition, and if it is not loving, it is not of God. Not that it is always easy to discern what constitutes a loving action, but still, it gives us a benchmark to go by.

If Valentine’s Day ceased to be a celebration of romantic passion or an opportunity to market expensive jewelry and became a time to take inventory of the real love in our lives, that would be a truly useful time of the year. Perhaps I’ll start it by filling the day with loving action. If I love, God is there.

God of St. Valentine, show us the true meaning of love. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.