The cartoonist Kim Casali gave us many definitions in her famous series of cartoons (each one starting with the words ‘Love is…’), some of which may make us smile.

Some of these have definite ties with Biblical views on love:

If we want to find the real definition of love, though, we have to start with God, since He is love (1 John 4:8) . Probably the best definition of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, which shows us the need for love at the heart of our living.

Tonight we looked at that definition, recognising that this love describes God’s love first and foremost. There are positive and negative aspects of love in that chapter: love is described as patient and kind, trusting and persevering, hopeful, protective, but it is also described as not being arrogant or selfish, boastful or envious, easily angered or keeping a record of wrongs. Love focuses on others and rejoices with the truth. We are told that ‘love never fails’ and see that we all need God’s help to love in this way. If we want to please God and see others come to faith, then love must be first in our lives. (John 13:34-35)

The good news is that God helps us and pours His love into our hearts. So as we consider the approach of Valentine’s Day on 14th February and think about how we can show love to other people, we need to let this definition of love – rather than the world’s definition or focus only on romantic love – shape how we live so that we can reflect God’s love to other people.