More Perfect Love

1 John 4: 16-17 God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 and as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.

Our text draws our attention to Perfect Love, a longing at the core of human needs.  This month it is almost certain that one will think more about love. Why? Because February highlights love with a spotlight on breath taking romantic Valentine’s Day celebrations. But interestingly, according to one traditional breath taking story, this day was originally commemorative of the Roman St. Valentine’s martyrdom (February 14, 269 A.D.) for refusing to give up Christianity.

Nevertheless, each year, we see a growing number of people preparing for a perfect, onetime breath taking Valentine’s Day event to express their love. It is indeed wonderful and admirable to show someone love in a meaningful way.  However, we will not give too much emphasis on these lovely, memorable and exhilarating moments that will likely fly away, deflate, like a colorful bouquet of balloons. Still we can use this illustration to better understand the more perfectly love God desires for our lives. We begin with the profound truth that the everlasting God is Love! And all who live in love, live in God, and God lives in them.  Therefore, as our text also states, when we live in God, our love grows more perfect. This is a striking contrast to a one time or once a year grand expression of love that will likely fade away.

Yet, more is required to truly understand God’s depiction of perfect in love.  “Surely it is natural to love our spouse, children, family and friends. But, what about loving our neighbors, enemies, fellow Christians and even God Himself?” The preceding statement and questions were posed in an article written by my daughter LaTeka.  Having read them, perhaps you are thinking… I say “I love you”, provide for my family and entertain with friends. But we all know I’m not perfect. I’m usually kind to neighbors and strangers but what’s breath taking about that? Perhaps a peripheral glimpse of the answers is revealed in St. Valentine’s literal breath taking desire for love that lasts throughout eternity as it translucently directs our hearts to Jesus Christ.  Jesus, without bias, showed everyone who crossed His path the true meaning of growing in perfect love… really caring for others, as he healed the sick, casted out demons and used parables to show how relevant and essential the word is to everyday life. Growing in perfect love is lasting, transformative and restorative when it reveals God’s love expressed through our actions, attitudes, words and ways. We keep pressing towards this high calling until it is all about Jesus rather than grand events that unfortunately often bring misdirected focus onto self. Jesus died on the cross for us to experience God’s ultimate perfect love, an everlasting life.  St. Valentine’s celebration was laying his life down for the love of Jesus Christ. “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we (too) have passed from death to life” 1 John 3:14 How will your growth show more perfect love Christ-likeness”?

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Vonzenia Crigler

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