• Mercy Hill Church - Valentine's Day - "Love: In Defense of the Sappy Stuff" Blog

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Unable to sleep because someone keeps invading our thoughts—yes, a crush. These feelings are funny things. One moment, you’re high-fiving random people on the street for no particular reason because of this joy of being in love, but then you’re sitting alone in an empty parking lot at night listening to depressing love songs at the highest volume because you know that your love is not returned.[1]

It seems that even though these strange, powerful things can bring so much misery, I would wager to say that none of us want to live life without them. Even in the depths of love sickness, we understand that there is something about these feelings that connects us to the very definition of what it means to be human. This is true.

Soulmates

When we talk about what it means to be human, as Christians, we can look to the perfect humans, Adam and Eve before the fall. They were humans as God created humans to be. And in Genesis 2:21-24 we see romantic love on full display in pre-fall humanity:

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. Then the Lord God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. And the man said:

This one, at last, is bone of my bone
and flesh of my flesh;
this one will be called “woman,”
for she was taken from man.

This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. 

In verse 23, we have recorded for us the very first sappy country song written before sin came into the world. Feelings of love are a piece of what it means to be truly human, and when we have a crush, this is an echoing of our design. We see from these verses that love is a desire to have an intimate relationship with another, a relationship so close that the two of you can be considered one. It’s one of our deepest longings.

Adam and Eve were soulmates. Eve was made for Adam, and Adam wanted to give himself to his wife completely in a perfect, complementary relationship. But the feelings of love that humans have for each other are secondary.

What Do I Do with All This Emotion?

Love is our most powerful emotion. It drives what we do. All of us know this deeply who have acted like an idiot around our crushes, dressed-up when we knew they were going to be around, or did something we didn’t like (watched a terrible movie or listened to awful music) just to be near them and involved in what they were involved in.

God designed us to feel love in order to feel love for him above all. Feelings of love are a good gift, but they are only used according to their design when the priorities of what we love are placed in the right order. Jesus said: “The one who loves a father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; the one who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37; cf. 22:36-37).[2]

An Example of Proper Love

God called David a man after his own heart (Acts 13:22). And it makes sense when we read his love songs to God. Consider the beginning of Psalm 63:

God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you.
I thirst for you;
my body faints for you
in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.
My lips will glorify you
because your faithful love is better than life.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
at your name, I will lift up my hands.
You satisfy me as with rich food;
my mouth will praise you with joyful lips. (vs 1-5)

These are the words of a man who feels deep love for God. God desires to be loved and says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires (Ps. 37:4). When the Lord is the highest desire of our heart, he gives us himself.

Broken Feelings

But Adam and Eve did not love God most. They disobeyed his command, and their disordered love brought sin, corruption, and death into the world. Our feelings of love have been marred ever since. Now, we pine and ache for the intimacy of other humans over the intimacy of God.

But we are only fooling ourselves. We cannot find our soulmate in humanity. The puzzle pieces of our souls that were supposed to fit together perfectly through a godly union have had the loops and sockets broken off so that none of us perfectly interlock. That’s why divorce is so prevalent. Marriage is a beautiful picture of the design, but perfect wedded bliss can’t exist in a sin-infested world. That’s why marriage must be based on grace and established with an attitude of being ready to fight for the union.

But God…

“But God” are Valentine’s day words. God loves us, his people. If love determines action, what does that say about God’s love for us that he would give up the Son whom he loves (Mark 9:7) that he might bring us to himself and have intimate union with us?

The apostle John testifies: “But one of the soldiers pierced [Jesus’] side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows he is telling the truth” (John 19:34-35). If we are willing to hear what John is saying, it is astounding. Just as God pierced Adam’s side to create his soulmate, so Jesus’ side was pierced to make for himself a bride. The blood represents his sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins and the water represents our baptism which unites us to Christ in his death and resurrection. God has made a way for us that we might have an intimate love relationship with him.

Jesus took on our bones and our flesh so that he could sing to us, “This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” And so, we will be one with Jesus forever.

Who is adequate to speak of such things? Perhaps I’ll leave us with a Valentine’s Day prayer of Paul: “I pray that [we], being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love” (Eph. 3:17-18).

-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)

[1] No? Just me?

[2] In Jesus’ day, it would have been absurd to think of loving someone more than your parents or your kids.