February is the time of year when our hearts and minds swirl around ideas of love and romance as we celebrate Valentine’s Day in the middle of the month. While there are many varied stories about St. Valentine, it is widely believed that Valentine, a Catholic priest in the 3rd century, was imprisoned for marrying soldiers who, under Roman law were prevented from being married. While imprisoned, the Roman government tried to persuade Valentine to renounce his faith in order to save his life. Valentine refused to renounce his faith and was martyred on February 14.
The story of Valentine, like all martyrs, is a story of love and faithfulness to God – he refused to give up his faith. Valentine’s story also highlights the beauty of God’s love shared among his people. Today we associate Valentine with romantic love. Florists, candy shops, card makers, and restaurants tailor their products to couples on this special day. But romantic love is not the only kind of love there is.
Scripture speaks of several types of love, the greatest of which is Agape. Agape love is a term that refers to the highest form of love, the love of God for humans and of humans for God. It is a love that is based on the value and preciousness of the object loved, and that seeks the best for the beloved. It is a love that is willing to sacrifice one’s self for the benefit of the other. Agape love is contrasted with other types of love, such as erotic love or brotherly love.
God’s agape love for us is summed up in Romans 5:8 AMP “But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love for us is unconditional. There is nothing we can do to earn it. He already loves us and seeks the best for us, so much so, that even in our messed up, sinful state - Christ died for us. If you have not experienced God’s love or you don’t why Christ needed to die for you please connect with us today.