On this Valentine's Day -- a day in which we celebrate the great gift of love -- let's take a moment to reflect on what love is and how we love. God says many things in His Word about love. Perhaps the best known love verse is one spoken by Jesus Himself about God's love:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Perhaps the best known passage about love is the one spoken by the apostle Paul and so often used in wedding ceremonies:
"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.... And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13; NKJV).
What is Extravagant Love?
The word "love" in the 1 Corinthians 13 passage is translated as "charity" in the King James Bible. It distinguishes it from the word "love" which we so often flippantly use. I love my car, my dog, my house, my clothes, my job, etc. The word "charity" carries a profound meaning that testifies to the type of love this is -- a sacrificial love of deep and committed emotional connection. This is a love that gives without expecting, or needing, anything in return.