What Real Love Looks Like

It's almost Valentine's Day.  The hearts have been strung in the stores, and cards of sappy expressions placed on the shelves.  Kids are preparing their Valentine's boxes and husbands are scurrying around to figure out how to impress their wives.

I've never been one to get real emotionally attached to that day, but I do, however, love to receive expressions of love then and all other 364 days following. 

So what does real love look like?  Is it a piece of paper that has the words, "I love you" scrawled on it, or is it a kind gesture, gentle smile or unselfish act?  The answer is "YES!"  All of these and more.  If we turn to the source of true love, we find these words in  1 Corinthians 13:1-7:

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

God gave us complete instructions on love and how to treat others.  Jesus embodied true love as He left His heavenly throne and came to earth to walk among us, healing the sick, encouraging the downtrodden and ministering to the unfortunate.  Yet, the weight of it all was realized the moment He gave Himself up for each of us on the cross, taking our punishment and paying our penalty.  That, my friends, was true love.

This Valentine's Day as you select a card, a gift or some token of appreciation and love, remember that true love only comes through a relationship with Christ.  It is God's desire that we in turn journey this life with eyes off self, hearts attuned to others' needs and a heart full of love and kindness for all those who cross our path.

God bless and may His love ever shine about you.