Another season has come! All looks rosy and supermarkets are stocking up. Everyone is busy and social networks are active.
Growers have roses ready, and card factories are booming. Reality shows, TV dramas, books, movies, documentaries, and press conferences are pregnant with a common theme. Valentine’s Day make-up, dating sites and premieres complete the picture. It is February 14th, Valentine’s Day!
There are different schools of thought concerning the origin of St Valentine’s Day. The most popular says that it is a commemoration of Valentine of Rome who was martyred under Emperor Claudius. He was apparently arrested for secretly marrying people, at a time when the emperor had banned marriages, believing married men to make bad soldiers. And while in jail he converted his jailer to Christianity by healing his blind daughter’s sight. It is further said that he fell in love with this same lady, to whom he wrote a love letter on the day of his execution, signed “from your Valentine”. This day was February 14th, which is widely celebrated, commemorating lovers.
Although many view Valentine’s day love solely from an erotic perspective, love has many definitions and countless dimensions. There is “Filial” love, which is love of a child towards the parent(s). Love is equally “Storge”; which is liking someone through the fondness of familiarity. Final-ly, love could be “Agape”. This is the highest form of love, which is selfless and unconditional towards the object of love. This is the kind we all need.
To love and be loved, is God’s gift to us. However, true love is ever so elusive, and many relationships end with broken hearts and shattered lives. Could true love ever be found in this world of empty promises and selfish motives? Could it be found in the various gifts and words expressed in this season? Although the flowers, sweets, cards, chocolate bars and more given out on Valentine’s all say” I love you”, could there be more?
Certainly, there is the rare case of one who selflessly loves everyone. One who loves enough to lay down His life for the one He loves. He loves the unlovable, touches the untouchable, and makes friends with the rejects of society. There is no person He does not love in a personal way. He loves every single person, no matter their background, sins, inclinations or beliefs. He is Jesus Christ, our eternal Saviour!!
Permit us to present to you Jesus Christ the perfect lover. He picks up broken lives and makes them whole again. He rescues from the brink of suicide and restores the joy of life. He loves beyond comprehension. He lives forever to be the perfect friend, lover, and companion. He is love incarnate. In His love, He gives and gives. When the need arose, he even surrendered His own life for the object of His love. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.” (John15:13). “ But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us”. (Romans 5:8).
It may be hard to believe that God loves you when you consider some mishaps in your life. One truth still stands; God loves you. However, our respective sins keep us from enjoying the fullness of His love. We have all sinned and our sins have separated us from God. In His love He longs to reach out to us but our sins have created a wall and His
heart is filled with pain. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear”. (Isaiah 59:2).
Sin equally pays a salary. This salary is eternal separation from God in hell, and every person who continues in sin and refuses to repent will be thrown into the lake of fire on the last day. The salary has also begun to manifest itself in broken hearts, broken homes, purposelessness, etc. However painful these are, they do not compare to the agony of those who go to the lake of fire for rejecting God’s love for them.
Love triumphs! God loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus Christ to come and die on the cross where we ought to have died because of our sins. God put all our past, present and future sins on Jesus Christ and punished sin once and for all on the cross. Jesus took our place, shed His divine and the innocent blood that sinners like us may be forgiven. He bridged the gap that separates man from God and opened a new way by which sinners can be reconciled to God. Jesus did it on the cross and rose again from the dead as proof that God was satisfied with His work on behalf of sinners. He lives forever to forgive all sinners who repent genuinely of their sins, forsake them and receive Him as their Saviour. He wants to forgive you NOW, give you a new birth, and write your name in the book of eternal life so that you will never perish.
God in Christ has paid the price for sin and the only thing left for you to do is to respond to His love. There are four things you need to think about and act upon if you want God to forgive you, give you eternal life and show you the full extent of His love, these are represented by the first four letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D.
ADMIT that you are a sinner by nature and by practice and that on your own you are without hope. Tell God that you have sinned against Him in your thoughts, words, and actions. In a sincere prayer, confess all your sins to Him one after the other. Do not omit any sin that you can remember. It may be helpful if you write out your sins on a sheet of paper and then burn them after God has forgiven you.
In doing so, you must be truly sorry for them since they pierce God’s heart. Then truly turn your back to and abandon your sinful ways. If you stole, steal no more. If you have been committing adultery or fornication, stop it. God will not forgive you if you have no desire to stop sinning in all the areas of your life: but if you are sincere, He will give you the power to stop.
BELIEVE that Jesus Christ who is God’s son is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life. Jesus said “I am
the Way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6), and the Bible says “for there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus who gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2: 5-6).
If you believe this you are also rejecting every other system or philosophy that suggests that a man can be reconciled with God outside of a personal relationship with Je-sus Christ. If you believe in Jesus, you will want to receive Him, for, “As many as received Him, He gave them the power to become the children of God” (John1:12). But.....,
CONSIDER the cost of following Him. Jesus said that all who follow Him must deny themselves. This includes self-ish financial, social and other interests. He also wants His followers to take up their crosses and follow Him.
Are you prepared to abandon your own interests daily for those of Christ? Are you prepared to be led to new directions by Him? Are you prepared to suffer for Him and die for Him if need be? Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.... And a man’s enemies shall be they of his house-
hold. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10;34-38).
This is very costly, but God’s gift– peace, joy, eternal life, etc, are far greater than whatever it may cost you. You do well to choose Him. Jesus will have nothing to do with half-hearted people. He demands total commitment.
He will only receive and forgive those who are prepared to follow Him AT ANY COST.
Think about it and count the cost. If you are prepared to follow Him come what may, there is something you must DO.
INVITE Jesus to come into your heart and life. He says “ Behold I stand at the door and knock if anyone hears my voice and opens the door (to his heart and life) I will come
to him and eat with him and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Why not pray a prayer like this one or another one as the Holy Spirit leads you?
“Lord Jesus, I am a wretched lost sinner who has sinned in thought, word and deed. Forgive me all my sins and cleanse me. Receive me Saviour and transform me into a child of God. Come into my heart now and give me eternal life. I will follow you at all cost trusting Your Holy Spirit to give me all the power I need. Amen”.
If you have prayed the above prayer sincerely, then Jesus has forgiven you and made you God’s child right away. He has blotted out all your sins and forgotten the fact that you ever sinned (Hebrews 10: 16-17). You have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13). You are born again; you are an entirely new creature and the past is gone (2Chorintians5;17). You are saved (Romans10:9).
Rejoice in your new position before God. Thank Him for His marvelous love, forgiveness, salvation, etc.
Begin at once to tell other people about your new life in Jesus.