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TONY ELDER: Remember on this Valentine's Day that God has given you His heart

Here we are at another Valentine’s Day. Have you eaten any of those little candy hearts yet — the ones with brief, affectionate messages printed on them?

I’ve always preferred chocolate treats myself (a hint for my wife), but apparently those hard candies are popular for many people, especially children. They convey such messages as “Luv Ya,” “Hugs & Kisses,” “Cutie” and a variety of other terms of endearment.

The most common sentiment I recall being written on those hearts was the plea, “Be Mine.” It expresses the desire for someone to make a commitment of love to you.

It reminds me of the classic comic strip character, Charlie Brown. He was always disappointed when it came to Valentine’s Day. He would anxiously wait at his mailbox, looking for cards, but never received any. Even his dog, Snoopy, would get Valentines in the mail, but not poor old Charlie Brown.

Whether or not you have a special person with whom to celebrate this day, there is Someone who wants you to know how much He loves you. God has sent you a Valentine. He has given you His heart with His desire written on it — “Be Mine.”

Does it seem strange to think of God in terms of being your Valentine? Maybe it’s because we connect the idea too closely with physical attraction and affection. But when you think of it in terms of relationship, love, and commitment, you can find the concept all through the Bible.

God’s great desire is for you to be His. That’s why the very first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).

God wants to have the same kind of committed, exclusive relationship with you as is associated with a married couple. Jesus proclaimed that the greatest commandment is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). He loves you and wants you to love Him above all else.

Think of some of the words and phrases God uses to describe His followers — His chosen ones, His special treasure, those who are precious to Him, His beloved. God uses what could be described as mushy, romantic language to show how much we mean to Him.

And let’s not forget that Valentine’s Day often means expressing one’s love with gifts beyond cards — flowers, candy, or dinner. God has shown His love to us by giving us the gift of eternal life. “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (I John 4:9).

That’s the greatest expression of love — Jesus giving Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). God has given us the most costly of presents — more valuable than diamonds or gold.

God is like a suitor who has done everything He can to woo us to Himself. He has sent us clear messages that He loves us and wants us to have a special relationship with Him. He has showered us with blessings and gifts. And He has exhibited the extent of His love by giving Himself for our sake.

The only question is our response to God’s plea to “Be Mine.” Let’s not leave Him waiting at His mailbox with disappointment. Let’s be as committed to loving Him as He is to loving us. Let Him be your Valentine.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at revtelder@aol.com.