14 Ways to Show Love to Those You Love
- Kathy Howard Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2017 1 Feb
It’s that time of year again – time to declare your love for your Valentines. How will you express that love? The easiest way is to follow the crowd. Leading up to February 14, sales of cards, chocolates, and flowers will go through the roof! After all, nothing says “love” like a 10-dollar greeting card, a box of assorted chocolates, and a dozen roses. Right?
Although I love chocolate, I admit there are more lasting ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day –and every day – with those you love. Although technically not a Christian holiday, Valentine’s Day does encourage us to show love to one another – something God Himself tells us to do again and again in His Word. Showing love to one another always pleases God.
However, the world’s definition of love doesn’t necessarily align with God’s. The Bible sets the bar much higher. Specifically, God commands His children to love each other like He loves us.
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV).
In this passage, and many others, the New Testament uses the Greek word agape to describe the kind of love God has for us and the love He commands us to have for one another. Agape is love expressed in deliberate action. It seeks the welfare of others. It is not dependent on emotion, but is an act of the will. Agape is based on the giver’s character, not the worthiness of the receiver. Agape is love in action.
The apostle John said it this way: "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:18, NIV).
So, if love is action, what does love in action look like? Below are 14 ways - straight from Scripture - you can actively show love to the people you love.
1. Help them out of a tight spot - When Jesus attended a wedding with His mother, she asked Him to help the hosts when they ran out of wine. We may not be able to miraculously solve a problem, but God has gifted us in other ways to help. (John 2:1-11)
2. Get them help when you can't help them - A paralyzed man received healing from Jesus because his friends dropped him through a roof at Jesus' feet. They were willing to do whatever it took it to get help for their friend! (Mark 2:1-12)
3. Pray for them - The Bible is full of people praying for the ones they love. The church prayed for Peter in jail (Acts 12:5). Jesus prayed for the disciples (John 17:6-19). Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers (Ephesians 1:15-23).
5. Freely forgive offenses - Jesus eliminated the limit on forgiveness when Peter asked how many times he should forgive (Matthew 18:21-22). Some hurts seem unforgivable, but with God's help it's possible to "promote love" through forgiveness (Proverbs 17:9).
6. Humbly serve them - Jesus set the example (John 13:1-17). He calls us – His followers - to also humbly and graciously serve others (Gal 5:13).
7. Meet their physical needs - Scripture is clear. If we see a brother in need, have the means to help but don't, our love for God should be questioned (1 John 3:17).
8. Rejoice and mourn with them - We show deep care for others when their hurts and joys are also ours. Don't hold back. Let the tears and the cheers flow! (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
10. Intercede with others on their behalf - Could your influence help a loved one? Barnabas smoothed the way for Paul with the Jerusalem church leaders (Acts 9:27-30). Paul wrote to Philemon appealing for Onesimus the runaway slave (Philemon 8-11).
11. Help two loved ones work out their differences - Does strife exist between two people you love? Be a mediator and help them mend their relationship. Paul asked the believers in Philippi to help two women in their church who were at odds (Philippians 4:2-3).
12. Introduce them to Jesus - Does a loved one desperately need to know Jesus? Share the Good News! Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Jesus (John 1:35-42).
13. Encourage and disciple them in their relationship with Christ - The author of Hebrews tells us to "spur one another on to good works" and "encourage one another" daily (Hebrews 10:24-25).
14. "Lay down your life!" - Seems pretty drastic, but that's exactly how Jesus showed His love for us (John 15:12-13). The basic principle has much broader application than actual physical death. Jesus calls us to unselfishly seek put others ahead of ourselves.
Wow! Buying a card and a box of chocolates is a lot easier. But Hallmark and Hershey don't say love like real love in action. Show somebody you love them today!
Kathy Howard is the author of 7 books including the new Bible study, “Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing.” This unique 9-week study of Paul’s experiences with and teachings about grace, will help you recognize, rest in, and share the glorious grace of God. You can find more of Kathy's work at www.kathyhoward.org.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: February 1, 2017