Every Day can be Valentine's Day under God's terms of love.

Scripture’s definition of love is very clear. Love without sacrifice is like food without nutrition. No sustenance. No life. Christianity rests on the foundation of sacrificial love. God gave up his only Son for someone else’s sake … yours … and mine.

Sacrificing for the sake of someone else does not come easy for most of us. All too often our definition of love does not include sacrifice. We like the warm feelings and the sense of satisfaction that accompanies love — but how often is love the result of putting someone else’s interests ahead of our own? I can’t help but wonder if a love that entails no sacrifice is even love at all.

I’ve long held that a mother’s fierce bond with her children takes place because of her countless hours of sacrifice on their behalf. Midnight feedings aren’t the only times when moms forfeit sleep. When my kids were young, I was convinced they had a secret “mommy alarm” that automatically sounded when I tried to take a nap in the middle of the day. No laziness on their watch! Moms forego everything from careers to the last cookie on the plate to benefit their little ones. They freely lay down their lives for their sons and daughters — and in doing so, they discover a profound secret: Sacrifice teaches us to love.

Every time we deny ourselves in order to meet another’s need, we grow in love.

Sacrifice. What does it have to do with love? Everything.

Thank you, Father, for the picture of true love you have given us through Jesus Christ. Help us not be fooled by cheap imitations. Teach us, Lord, to love like you. Amen.

Go Deeper — take time to consider whether you put others' interests ahead of your own. If not, ask God to lead you into deeper realms of His love.

Tags: We Love Our Writers John 13
Photo Credit: Adi Constatin