You know that old song, “All you need is love…love is all you need.” And yet we know countless individuals that loved someone passionately and then left their spouses.  We ourselves have loved and been hurt, and fallen “out” of love.  So apparently, love is not all you need to thrive in marriage, in relationships, or even in our walk with Him.

Falling in love with someone is one of the highlights of life, isn’t it?  I remember when I fell in love with my husband.  One night we both kept our phones off the hook (you know, those old phones that plugged into the wall) so that it could feel like we were by each other all night.  We were crazy in love! 

I have loved to spend time with a certain friend, only to find out she’s moving or she’s moving on, and she’s not so interested in spending time with me.  Ouch, that hurts, and though my love is still there, our relationship suffers.

Loving God seems such a given and something that should be so easy to do – if we truly believe He is good all the time.  But we step in and out of that belief, don’t we?  We love him, but we sure don’t like Him when he says no or tells us to wait.

I got this bracelet for Christmas that was started by a lady that wrote the phrase “Love is all u need” using the letters right on top of each other, so that it created a symbol.  You can check out their story here.  I thought about that phrase all during the holiday season.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, love will be present in the air again.  There will be proposals made, young love will be voiced, and chocolates and hearts will bring love to little kids as well as grown adults.  Love is presented in so many pretty ways with rings, sweets, notes and hugs.  But…wait until the day after Valentine’s Day when we’re disappointed that he forgot to make reservations.  Or maybe we have an argument and love is the last thing we feel for that person or this kid!

Since we often have “lost that loving feeling…” (another song!), what kind of love is all that we need?

It’s that love that lays down your life for another.  That love that Jesus had, that made him willing to obey his Father’s command to come down to earth and love the very people that would crucify him.  That’s the kind of love we all need.  I realize daily how much Jesus loves me when I get angry, spout off to my husband, think an angry thought about a friend, or just feel absolute hatred at something someone said!  My kind of love is dependent on others and how they treat me and how they demonstrate love to me.

And people, as long as we live on this earth, are going to disappoint us.  Love is not all we need.  We need grace and mercy and compassion that moves us to love - period.  We need a fresh experience of that love he gave to us so freely and willingly, the love that keeps on loving when we are not lovable one bit.

I think I have that kind of love for my children.  They do make me mad sometimes, but because they’re part of my flesh and a gift from God, and they were created out of love, they belong to me.  I cherish them.  I’d never want to see them suffer and hurt, if I can step in and help.  But even a mom’s love isn’t perfect.  We hover, interfere, and love too much and not with pure motives.  Love isn’t all we need.

I don’t know where you are this February on the love scale, but if you’re like me, you probably could stand to improve in your love for others.  The bible says there’s no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend.  I’m not sure if that means literally and physically, but I’m certain it means to lay aside grievances, hurts, wounds, and judgments – all of them – so that love can run red for everyone.  Laying down our lives must look like giving up our time and our possessions in order to love on others, including our spouse, our children, those we meet in social gatherings, and even the stranger on the street that flips us off because we’re driving too slowly.

The heart is deceitful and wicked, except for Jesus.  Because he laid down his life for us, we too can lay down our lives at his feet, and for others.  I don’t know how, but I know that we can.  And I know that we won’t do it perfectly or consistently, but that’s okay. 

Happy Valentine’s Day as you feel his love, and extend that love to all that you know and are about to meet…

All You Need is Love?
by Marcy Lytle

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