It’s February 13. People are busy buying gifts for their Valentines. Those tokens of love will amount to about 196 million roses, around180 million cards, and – my personal favorite – roughly 58 million pounds of chocolate. I imagine quite a few “I love you’s” will be tossed around too.
How will you express your love? It’s easy to buy a gift and say a few words. But, the Bible’s definition of love sets the bar much higher.
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, how do we love? Below are 14 ways from Scripture that you can actively show love to the people you love.
- 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)
- 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)
- 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 (Ephesians1:15-23).
- Rebuke them when needed – Sometimes the best way we can love someone is by confronting their sinful, destructive behavior (Proverbs 27:6, Matthew18:15-17).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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 Cor 12:25-26).
- Show kindness to someone they love – King David expressed his deep bond of friendship for Jonathan by caring for Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:1-13).
- 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).
- 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 help two women in their church (Philippians 4:2-3).
- 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).
- 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).
- “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 doesn’t say love like real love in action. Show somebody you love them today!
Who can you show love to today? How will you show it?