Then & Now - Week of February 15

"The Day After Valentines Day"
Psalms 139

Psalms 139 When I was a teen, Valentines Day was always bad. I hated it. If I had a girlfriend, there was the tough task of finding a gift that wasn't too over-the-top but wasn't cheap. And what if it was a new relationship and I wasn't sure where it was going? Yikes. You get flowers and get accused of coming on too strong and her father is mad at you. You don't get anything and you're a cad and her father is mad at you.

And those were the good years when I had a girlfriend. The years I was "single" Valentines Day represented something I didn't have—a significant other.

As I look back on my high-school and early college years—I realize that I wasted a lot of time agonizing over being loved. Actually it wasn't really love I was after. I was like.

Now that I'm a thirty-two-year old father of three, I realize love is much deeper and better than like. Like is a passing fancy. Like likes me when I'm the popular Senior who won an award and has all the teachers singing my praises. Like dumps when I do something stupid in front of the entire class and humiliate myself or I get in trouble for getting into a fight.

Love—love is deeper. True love is more than a fuzzy feeling, though the fuzzy feelings are part of it. I've been married seven years and I still get fuzzy feelings about Angela. So don't dismiss those altogether. But love is commitment. Love is being there when the other person is not at the top of their game. Love is the other person being there when you're not at the top of your game.

Jesus said it best. He said "Greater love has no man than this. That a man lays down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Love is sacrificial. It's putting aside your desires and your wants and needs and must-haves for the benefit of someone God has called you to serve.

This is a love that swims against our culture. It's a love you won't often see portrayed on the big screen. It's a love that takes longer than fifteen minutes to cultivate.

How do we move from like to love? We begin with Jesus, who went before us to the cross, demonstrating that laying-down kind of love. Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice for us, considering us His friends, even though we were sinners.

Jesus did this, because God the Father and God the Son so value you and me. Maybe this day after Valentine's you're not feeling so loved or even liked. I want to you read today's passage in Psalm 139 and realize that it has your name on it. Before the foundation of the world was laid, you were on God's mind and God had a plan in mind for you.

In other words, God doesn't just like you. God loves you.

Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at, or check out his website:

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