rev._joaquin_willis_3.jpgThis Valentine’s Day, let’s make God our valentine. When you make God your valentine, you are able to love God completely and love others as you love yourself. Christ teaches that this fulfills all 10 Commandments.

When God is our valentine, we can fix broken love relationships, such as marriages, courtships and friendships.

When we make God our valentine, we too can say what Christ said, to the Pharisees: “The most important commandment is this: Love your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength.

The second is this: Love your neighbor as your self. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Feelings of love can create a false intimacy which often overpowers reason. Today, many both young and old are in too big of a hurry to develop intimacy based on physical feelings but this isn’t “real love.”

Solomon in Song of Songs 2:7 says, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”  This verse encourages us not to force romance lest the feelings of love grow faster than the commitment needed to make love last.

Strong physical feelings aren’t enough to make a lasting love relationship.

Dr. Gary Chapman, in his book The 5 Love Languages tell men, “There is an ‘in love’ experience which is a euphoric non-sustainable temporary emotional high. But ‘Real Love’ is emotional in nature, not an obsession. It unites reason and emotion. Involves an act of will and requires discipline. It recognizes the need for personal growth, a love that grows out of reason and choice, not out of instinct.

True love does not begin until the ‘in-love’ experience runs its course.” Real love, says Chapman, is “intentional.”

Today, too many people don’t have the patience needed to be in real love and are not willing to wait for true feelings of love and commitment to develop. Getting intimately involved too soon, many have children out of wedlock or get married too early and end in divorce with broken homes, lives and dreams.

If they had made God their valentine, and slept only with Him, like Adam was made to do, according to Genesis 2:21, before God revealed Eve to him, then building a lasting marriage and a permanent love would have been easier.

When God is our Valentine it changes life’s outcome. Jesus charges in John 13:34, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you too must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus was a living example of God’s love for us and we are now to be living examples of Jesus’ love in our love relationships.

When God is our valentine, we have good self-worth. This is not an article on marriage, because even in marriage many still have low self-worth. In fact, many enter into marriage hoping that the union will enhance their self-worth. Our true value is God’s estimate of our worth and not that of our peers, boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands or significant others.

While other people evaluate and categorize us according to how we perform by their standards, what we achieve and how we look — I thank God that ­­­­— this is not His standard.

But I also thank God everyday because He cares for us simply because we belong to Him, as He cares for all of His creatures.

So we should face life without fear of rejection, inadequacy, disapproval or even lack of intimacy, because, hopefully, we all know God doesn’t make junk and He loves us all.

So what does it take to make God your valentine?

t takes genuine love, versus superficial love. According to Mark 10:20, “Jesus looked at the rich young ruler and loved him.”

He had a genuine love for him and, out of that love, Christ challenged him to give up his riches and to follow Him, even though Christ knew the rich young man probably would not do so.
Real love can be tough love, because sometimes in real love one must give tough advice, because real love doesn’t hedge the truth.

Real love gives us more than approval; it creates and provides life-changing challenges.

If you make God your valentine, then every day will be Valentine’s Day!

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or