Jesus Is Not Your Valentine

Romance is a wonderful thing. The long talks, smiles, interlocked hands and purposeless walks—all of these things make us feel alive. It doesn't matter if you've been single for years or married for 60, we can all relate to Tom in 500 Days of Summer when he dances through the streets to "You Make My Dreams" because he won Summer's heart. Feelings can carry us to the top of the world.

The problem is, feelings fade. I heard a friend recently admit that he has fallen hard for dozens of girls only to break up with them after dating for a few months because the butterflies stopped flying. And this is the way our culture works: We date people until they stop giving us what we want.

Although I'm sure I could write a great deal about the problem of mistaking emotional romance for love, that is not what this column is about. I'm writing this because I have seen many people (including myself) act as though following Christ is like being in a petty high school relationship. When things get difficult, complicated, confusing or unfulfilling, we walk away.

Most of the time, this is really subtle. It's leaving a church because the worship music doesn’t give you goosebumps, or neglecting prayer because you don't feel God's arms tangibly hugging you like you once did. The problem is, Jesus did not come to sprinkle feel-good emotions on us like a Valentine love affair. He came to lead us into the Kingdom of God, and following Him there can be tough.

I once attended a Bible study where a girl openly complained, “Jesus and I are in a fight.” Instantly, everyone’s eyes in the room turned to her. She proceeded, “He hasn’t answered any of my prayers for weeks, and I’m beginning to feel like He is ignoring me.” We all sympathized with her and understood her angst. Although most of us would not put it in these terms, we all feel frustrated when God does not fulfill our emotional desires. Taking a step back, however, I realize this complaint (a very common one) trivializes Christ’s lordship and makes Him seem more like a romantic companion who must return all of our phone calls than the God of our lives.

Of course, when examining the Gospels, we see that Jesus has extravagant, eternal love for His followers. At the last supper, He tells His disciples: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love” (John 15:9). Here, Christ confesses His deep, heart-felt affection for the disciples, yet in the same conversation He warns them that He will soon go away, leaving them to endure persecution without His physical presence. In other words, they must abide in his love because soon they will be tempted to forget it.

We do ourselves a huge disservice to view Christ’s love through the lens our culture’s definition of the word. Hollywood says love only exists when our whimsical, emotional needs are met. God says love always exists because of what Christ did for us. He demonstrated the highest form of love possible, sacrificing His own life for the sake of ours on the cross. In Romans 8, Paul reflects, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” In this way, we can know in the deepest parts of who we are that God loves us, even if we feel alone or ignored in the present. 

As John Piper asks, “Do you feel loved by God because you believe He makes much of you, or because you believe He frees you and empowers you to enjoy making much of Him?”

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I will be the first to admit I struggle in my faith. I often feel unsatisfied and turn to accomplishments, approval, possessions and physical intimacy to get my fix of fulfillment. I once even decided to “take a break” from prayer for months while I dated a girl in an attempt to fill my soul. But I have to assume this emptiness was felt by Abraham when he waited 25 years for God’s promise, or by Joseph when his brothers left him for dead, or by Paul when his ship wrecked, and yet they still abided in God’s love.

Even when we can’t feel Christ’s presence and our hearts long to run in a hundred different directions, we can still offer devotion, knowing that God rewards those who seek Him. His love is much greater, deeper and more enduring than Hollywood romance. It makes us feel the greatest joy and passion, yet it also sustains us when we don’t. So the answer is no: Jesus will not be your Valentine. He will be much more than that. He will be a helper, a healer, a savior and a king, our Lord to worship and our God to love.

Top Comments


Allie Molina7 commented…

Jesus will always be my valentine forever and always. No matter what movies say. I am staying strong. the world love's to bring us down. But lets not it win.


Noelle Whitesell


Noelle Whitesell commented…

Praise God for this article! This helps so much, and it is so true. Thank you for reminding us that in the dark times when it feels like God is far away, He is still there. And He is still worthy of our love and devotion. Just look at the cross!


Rebecca commented…

Amen. This verse has sustained me through the darkest hours of my life.


Allie Molina7 commented…

Jesus will always be my valentine forever and always. No matter what movies say. I am staying strong. the world love's to bring us down. But lets not it win.

Meaghan Smith


Meaghan Smith commented…

This exercise works nice for growing unbelievable rotary power at your middle. The primary easy step you possibly can take is incorporate "explosion" into your exercises.

Taylor Carroll


Taylor Carroll commented…

I'm sorry, but I must respectfully disagree. This article is very true on some points--that a) God is SO much more than a romancer; b) we must never base our relationship with God on feelings, and that the Christian life is so much more than feeling good and having our needs met; c) God's love must never be seen as the world defines "love," and d) we must indeed press on when feelings are not present.

However, that being said, we cannot do anything until we understand just how powerful and amazing--and rich in grace and mercy--God's love for us is. It's not the world's love, absolutely, but at His core GOD IS LOVE. Scripture makes that ABUNDANTLY clear. The entire basis of our relationship with God comes from love--the love He had for the world that prompted Him to sacrifice His own begotten Son for stupid monkeys whose lives are wisps and smoke and who chase after everything except Him--THAT is love. And, as someone who is single and choosing to remain that way, it's very encouraging to remind myself of God's promises--He will never leave me, even if everyone else does; that even on my worst days, when I hate myself so much, God's love has never changed; etc. Have you read Song of Solomon?? That entire BOOK is a metaphor for Christ's love for the church! There's a reason God refers to us as the bride and He is the bridegroom--LOVE. Unstoppable, overwhelming, pure, perfect love.

Yes, the Christian life is not easy and feelings come and go and all that stuff. But as AllieMolina said, I'm perfectly fine with Christ being my valentine--the One who loves me and will do anything--has done it--to pursue me and get me into a relationship with Him. If we don't have Christ's love down, then our relationship with God isn't a relationship--it's a religion.

JESUS, I WANT YOU TO BE MY VALENTINE, PLEASE. (We don't have to have champagne and chocolates or flowers or anything--but I want to learn about Your love and I want to be "a pleasing aroma" to You...)

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