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February 14, 2024 | Daily Devotionals | February 14

True Love Sacrifices


 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2–4


Rome, 269 AD. Dark, brutal—especially for the outlawed and hunted sect of religious “fanatics” called Christianus. They gather in secret to worship their forbidden God for fear of persecution. Amidst this bleak backdrop comes a Roman bishop named Valentinus—helper of the sick and poor, consoler of the brokenhearted. (Several St. Valentine stories exist, but all share similar traits as Valentinus.)


For his defiance of Roman laws against proselytizing about the Nazarene he is placed under arrest in the home of an aristocrat named Asterius. Valentinus is asked to lay hands on Asterius’ blind daughter, Julia, and she is healed—Asterius accepts Christ, is baptized along with his entire household, and Valentinus is freed. Julia—now growing in her faith—writes letters to Valentinus, expressing her thanks (and thus, the first “Valentine’s” are written). However, on February 14, 269 Valentinus was beheaded for refusing to renounce his faith.


That’s not your grandma’s version of Valentine’s Day. No sweet love notes, flowers, or cupids. Instead, a hero of the faith martyred for standing up for the one true God. God’s man embraces love—but not the diffused and confused love that the world offers. We embrace the tough love of the cross—rugged, battered, bloodied, and resilient. In dark times and in light, we remember saints such as Valentinus—commonly known as St. Valentine—as models of the type of love Jesus calls us to: sacrificial and courageous and enduring. 


Then we endure some more. Is there happiness? Hopefully some. Is there joy? In abundance. When we choose Jesus over the world’s twisted versions of love, we then internalize that love and are able to authentically model it. We become the light not hidden under a bushel. This Valentine’s Day, let His light shine through you into the darkness. 


Father, let me remember the faith of Valentinus and remember the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.

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