Valentine’s Day, or Singles’ Awareness Day as some friends like to call it, is an interesting annual occasion.

For some, it’s a day where one gets flowers, chocolate and a romantic dinner with one’s sweetheart. For others, it’s more like a thorn in the side reminding them of their perpetual solitude (for now anyway).

As for me? I bounce around the office handing out heart shaped lollipops to my friends and co-workers, and get on with my day. I say any day is what you make of it, good or bad.

But on a day like yesterday, during our regular weekly prayer with my interns, I found myself pondering a particular thought: What is true love? And how does it play out in our everyday lives?

Love (Your God)

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the two most important commandments in the Bible (according to Jesus) both start with love. Love your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. (Matt 22:37)

If you think about it, the whole bible is basically a love story. It’s about a God who loved us so much, He sent His only son to die on a cross so that we might be saved. At the basis of our faith, it’s important to remember that God is not looking to see how many times a day you say the “Our Father” or how long you spend in prayer. He is looking at our hearts.

To know God is to love Him. And once we truly understand that, the rest will follow.

Love (Your Neighbor)

Love can take many forms, but more than just saying it, a lot of people if asked will say that love is often seen through a person’s actions. One of the biggest things that comes to mind at the moment is the recent incident where Christians protected Muslims in Egypt so they could pray. In a situation where it would have been easy to turn their backs on people who haven’t been exactly friendly to them in the past, Egyptian Christians chose another path. They chose to love.

If we are to call ourselves Christians, in essence followers of Christ, then we must understand that truly loving our neighbors is not about getting anything back in return. It is about living lives that display the love that we have experienced through knowing God. Therefore, even if someone hasn’t necessarily been nice to us, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bother with them. God loves them, and we should too.

Love (Yourself)

This last part I’ve found, is something that a lot of people either have a hard time with, or neglect. Sometimes it’s not intentional, we get caught up with work and school, family and friends, and it’s easy to put ourselves last. In other cases, you’ve had past hurts that have led you to believe that you’re not worth it, and don’t deserve grace.

But here’s the thing, God doesn’t make exceptions for anyone. He loves you just as much as He loves the next person. And the reality is that if we are to truly love others, we must first begin by loving ourselves. It is when we have accepted the love of God in our own lives, that we are able to take that and share it with others.

So this “love” month, if you’ve never done it before, pray and ask God to show you how much He loves you, and I’m sure He will. God not only is the embodiment of love, He is a love that will never leave or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)