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Every day is the perfect time of year to talk about love, but Valentine's Day likely sparks more “love” talk than any other. We’re bombarded with advice on how to find love—and keep it—from every friend, family member, and even strangers. Wouldn’t it be easier if we had a specific recipe for love—a foolproof way to bring love into our lives?
And on that topic, doesn’t it feel like we get so many mixed messages? I mean, what is love, really? Sometimes it feels like it’s all hearts and flowers and heart-shaped candy boxes, oohs-and-ahhs and isn’t-he-so-cute and cartoon princes rescuing damsels in distress and romantic movies with violins swelling as the couples run toward each other in slow motion with arms open wide and… Oh! My. Gracious.
Sometimes it can feel a little superficial, like the recipe for finding and expressing love ranges from sitting idly awaiting our white knight to presenting our loved one an annual box of chocolates. Searching for love can be overwhelming, and expressing love may seem complex.
So, let’s look for a better understanding of love. And let’s go to the source of love—God—and consult the Word for the true “recipe” for expressing love. After all, God is love, so it’s only natural we look to him for love advice.
Let’s start with the beautiful recipe for love in Ephesians 4. It begins by urging for us to walk in the manner in which we have been called—with humility, gentleness and patience, standing together in love, with unity, with peace:
"I therefore… urge you to walk in a manner… to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.” —excerpt from Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV
Later, in verse 15, we’re urged to “speak the truth in love,” working to become more Christ like in our dealings with each other.
Finally, we’re urged to embrace our new life in Christ, to put off our old self and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds (verse 22-23).
The “recipe” ends with truths to help us love better, stronger and deeper:
Speak the truth (verse 25).
Be angry (only in a healthy way, not letting it lead us to sin), but don’t dwell in it unnecessarily (“do not let the sun go down on your anger”) (verse 26).
Speak good things to each other (no “corrupting talk” coming from our mouths) (verse 29).
Get rid of negativity! Put away bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander and malice (verse 31).
Be kind and tenderhearted to each other (verse 32).
And the essential cherry on top: be forgiving (verse 32).
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Our prayer for you today: God, thank you for the gift of your Word. Thank you for using Ephesians 4 to guide us in growth in our relationships with others, to grow us in love. We ask that your Holy Spirit guide us away from bitterness and anger and steer us to kindness, forgiveness and love for one another ever more each day. Amen.
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Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thess 5:11 CSB