In some cultures February is the month dedicated to love. Like the song says, love is the answer. The thirteenth century poet Rumi wrote, “Love is the bridge between you and everything.” If love is the answer and the bridge to everything, understanding what love really is really matters. Love seems to be the focus of countless movies, poems, and songs. But the love in the movies isn’t real. Real life is messy and complicated. And it requires something more than chocolate and roses. The love that changes lives, the world, and eternity is God’s perfect love.
Agape is the fatherly love God has for all of His children. But more than His love for us, it is the love we must have for God. It is the highest form of love.
When you know and understand how completely you are loved as a child of God, it changes everything. It changes the way you feel about yourself when you make mistakes. It changes how you feel when difficult things happen. It changes your view of God’s commandments. It changes your view of others and of your capacity to make a difference.” (Susan H. Porter)
It is unconditional, unselfish; it culminated in God giving the greatest gift, His Son. “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).
God’s perfect love changes us. Russell M. Nelson wrote, “The more committed we become to patterning our lives after His, the purer and more divine our love becomes.” God’s perfect love is real and is the bridge between peace and pain, healing and heartbreak.
God’s love is not found in the circumstances of our lives but in His presence in our lives. We know of His love when we receive strength beyond our own and when His Spirit brings peace, comfort, and direction. At times it may be difficult to feel His love. We can pray to have our eyes opened to see His hand in our lives and to see His love in the beauty of His creations. (Susan H. Porter)
Are we talking about lasting love, God’s perfect love, eternal love, agape?
Another name for God’s perfect love is charity, also known as the pure love of Christ. It is a gift we can seek and receive. But it is not finite. It doesn’t diminish when we share it, it expands. It is eternal and everlasting.
The Lord and Savior did die for all of us. His atonement was His expression or gift of love for us and for His Father. When we receive His love, we are better. We are changed. We are saved.
Jeffrey R. Holland taught,
The first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength.
Let’s make February more about agape and less about candied hearts. If we come to understand the difference this godly love can make, it will change how we see ourselves, treat others, and handle the reality of life.