The phrase “be my Valentine” conjures up so many different images associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day: cards with hearts and sugary poems on them, candy and flowers from someone you love, and images of cupids flying around shooting their arrows of affection for their sweethearts. February 14th is represented as the holiday of love, at least by the card and candy companies!
A Legend of Love
According to tradition, Valentine was a priest in Rome in the third century. At that time Rome was having difficulty getting soldiers to join the military because their spouses objected to them leaving their families. Marriages were therefore outlawed. Valentine defied the government by conducting weddings, but when discovered, was put in jail.
One legend has it that Valentine ministered during his jail time. He witnessed to the guards, one of whom had an adopted daughter who was blind. As the story goes, Valentine prayed for the girl and she subsequently regained her sight. The emperor ordered Valentine beheaded, but in his last days, Valentine left a note for the young girl which he signed “from your Valentine.” Valentine was made a saint by the Roman church after his death.
By the 18th century, it became popular for those in love to exchange tokens of affection “from their Valentine.” You would think the hearts and flowers of the holiday would turn our heads toward thoughts of love and marriage, but it often has the opposite effect. Those who do not receive some tangible, even expensive, gift may feel disappointed. Those who are single may feel left out. The beauty of love is reduced to a need to receive physical evidence that someone truly cares for us.
A Love that Calls Us His Own
Christians need to keep a close eye on our feelings during this holiday. Without proper perspective, this holiday can become idolatrous. We are the church, the bride of Christ. Married or single, in love or hopeful, Christ calls believers His bride. We are His. He loves us not because we are lovely, but He makes us holy and lovely by His cleansing. Ephesians 5:25-27 tells us, “. . . Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Christ’s love is the love that will always fulfill.
Charles Spurgeon said this in his sermon titled Love Stronger than Death:
“Beloved, you are “his own” now, because you have yielded yourselves to him. You delight to think that you are his. There is no greater joy to you than to feel that you belong to Christ! The fact that you are truly Christ’s is the fountain of innumerable pleasures and blessings to your heart! Jesus calls us, “his own”—his own sheep, his own disciples, his own friends, his own brethren, the members of his body! What a title for us to wear, “his own”! How many regiments have felt pleasure in being called the king’s own, the queen’s own, the prince’s own! Oh, but we are HIS OWN! He owns us! He calls us, “his own.” Thus he distinguishes us from the rest of mankind and sets us apart unto himself. “My name shall be named on them,” he says. We are “his own.”
The love represented in Valentine’s Day greetings pales in comparison to the love that we have in Christ. And even that love pales in comparison to what we have to look forward to in heaven. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12). To be fully known and loved anyway, beyond measure, is God’s gift to His people. We are His and He is ours. And for that our joy is complete. On Valentine’s Day we can still enjoy the flowers and candy if they come our way, but our joy in the Lord should be our cherished priority and evident to all.
Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Lord, You are the eternal source of love. Write these words on my heart that I may live my life for You, selflessly demonstrating the love You have for Your own. Remove any insecurities I have that somehow I don’t measure up. I am Yours and You are mine, and that is all that matters.
About the Author:
Sharon is recently retired from a career first as a chemist and then as a regulatory affairs consultant to the medical device industry. She has served on the women’s ministry team at Grace Presbyterian Church in her hometown of Yorba Linda, California, and has worked as the west coast regional advisor for the PCA. Her husband, two married daughters and two married sons are all engineers, who provide interesting technical conversations for a dinner table. Sharon is working on completing her bucket list which includes raising orchids, attending culinary school, bird watching and traveling. She has three young granddaughters and one grandson who she and her husband hope to meet as soon as the pandemic allows travel.