Another year went by and no valentines. No card, no candy, no flowers, no nothing! After 17 years of marriage, you'd think my husband would get the hint. Each year, someone would invariably ask me, "What did you do for Valentines?" or worse, "What did your husband get you?" to which, I would reply, "Nothing." I was in a state of agitation, frustration and hurt. I wanted to be loved…or so I mused. Why can't he be like the rest of the world and remember me on the days he's supposed to? These were my sentiments two years ago.
Valentines Day 2002 had come and gone and I thought I was doing pretty well with having gotten through that day with no tears. Then, the next day, someone called and asked me one of those awful questions. After answering, "Nothing," I hung up the phone and after the lump in my throat started to go down, I began to ask myself a few questions. What was it I really wanted? Was it the candy or flowers? No, not really. Was it a pretty pink and red foil card with someone else's poetic lines? No, not really. What did I actually want then? After searching my heart, I found that these things are what I truly desired:
To be Like Christ
I thought what I wanted was to be like the 'Joneses', or if not, at least look like them. They all gave each other gifts on Valentines Day. Because my husband didn't conform to the world's standards for that day, he was making me look bad. It was all about my reputation, and it was an unpleasant odor. In my heart of hearts, I knew that what I really wanted was to be like Christ. What was He like? He became a sacrifice. Biblical sacrifice means something has to die. In me, it required the death of reputation, which when complete, brings forth the sweet-smelling aroma of Christ.
Philippians 2:5-8 "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." NKJV (Emphasis mine)
Ephesians 5:1-2 "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." NKJV
To Adore Christ
I thought I needed to be lifted up and adored. To be remembered and worshipped once a year wasn't asking too much, was it? Yes, it was when it was all about my prideful esteeming of self, and it was revolting. In my heart of hearts, I knew what I really wanted was for others to adore Christ. To adore Him is to remember our low estate and the pit of miry clay which we wallowed in before He rescued us, and to highly exalt His name. I needed to die the death of prideful self-esteem, which when complete, brings forth humility and true adoration of Christ.
Luke 16:15 "And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God." NKJV
Philippians 2:9-11 "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." NKJV
The Love of God
I thought what I needed was to be loved by man. But to be loved by God is a far greater thing. I presumed I knew what love was – but my idea of love was based on words of praise, material gifts, and those all too fickle feelings. This is not true love. It was all about the love of man and it was iniquitous. True love requires sacrifice. Sacrifice means death. I needed to present myself a living sacrifice; put on the altar my desire for the love of man, and die the death of love, which when complete brings forth true life. For I have been loved with a greater love than any man can give, and if I love others with the same sacrificial love, I will be called His friend and filled with joy!
Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." NKJV
John 15:11-12 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." NKJV
John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." NKJV
Before my husband came home from work that day, I thought about how generous he is all the other days of the year with his time, his money, and his affection. When he finally came through the door, instead of my usual valentine depression, I was actually full of joy and greeted him with a smile and a big hug. He was hiding something behind his back – a huge velvet heart full of chocolate, and a bottle of my favorite perfume. What had gotten into him? I had no idea, but I knew what had gotten into me: Truth - and it had set me free.
WORLD'S BEST VALENTINE: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 NKJV
Deborah Wuehler is the Devotional and E-Newsletter editor for The Old Schoolhouse. www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com. She lives in Roseville, CA with her husband Richard and their six gifts from heaven. E-mail Deborah at devotions@TOSMag.com.