Who Was St. Valentine and What Can He Teach Us About God’s Intention for Love?

Even with all the pandemic challenges of the year, we’re about to spend almost $22 billion on cards, candy, flowers, dinners and more to mark the day recognizing a martyred saint whose name represents love, but whose origins are shrouded in mystery.
Not to worry. Jim Denison – co-founder of Denison Forum, pastor, author and digital-ministry leader – points out that the celebration of romance and love on Valentine’s Day points to what the Bible has to say about love.
Valentine’s Day reveals a biblical truth – that loving others is God’s intention for us,” Denison said. “However, the Lord’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves requires us to love ourselves. It’s important to explore a healthy way to do this.”
First, a few 2021 Valentine’s Day projections from the National Retail Federation:
  • Of that projected $21.8 billion in V-Day purchases, $1.3 billion will be for pets.
  • Average Valentine’s Day spending per person is expected to top $164.
  • 75 percent of people believe the pandemic’s challenges make it even more important to celebrate the day with loved ones.
Dig a little deeper and find there is more to the day than candy hearts and roses.
Here are five keys considerations:
  • To love others well, you must first love yourself. You cannot give away what you do not have.
  • To love yourself, first understand how God sees you. He’s proven how much he values you.
  • Finding your value in God’s view of you is countercultural today.
  • Self-reliance is a dead end. You can’t find fulfillment there.
  • Jesus said the two greatest commandments are “to love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40) The first equips you for the second.
An interesting note on St. Valentine, while there are as many legends and rumors as facts about him, it is believed he was martyred for caring for persecuted Christians in Rome in the 4th century.
Valentine’s Day can be a time to celebrate the ones we love in our life,” Denison said. “But it is also a perfect opportunity to reflect on how God loves you and the value of you loving others.”
Denison and the Denison Forum reach 2.1 million people around the globe with The Daily Article, delivered by email and social media; The Daily Article podcast; and numerous books. He speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues where faith and current events intersect.
Denison holds doctoral and master’s degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has pastored five churches across 36 years with a combined membership of more than 20,000. He is the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum. He also serves as Resident Scholar for Ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health and as Senior Fellow for Cultural Studies with Dallas Baptist University.


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