Today I just wanted to post some thoughts that I have on Love. Naturally, I would do this since it is Valentines Day. So first & foremost, Happy Valentines Day! As we focus on our loved ones today, perhaps we ought to take a moment to think about some people who love us: Our Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ. This is the first thing that we as missionaries teach new investigators is that their Heavenly Father LOVES them! We all need to know this, and we can all benefit from this knowledge because through God’s love we have received many blessings. Prophets, the Scriptures, the Plan of Happiness, and more. It’s amazing how much God has done for His children.
I remember a few years ago I was at an EFY (Especially For Youth) Conference and I was to study in the scriptures for about 30 minutes. Our group all separated and found little places here or there in a field of grass to study alone and keep to their own thoughts and feel the Spirit. I struggled to know what I ought to study, so I said a quick prayer and I opened my scriptures to a random place. This place was John 4, and as some of you may know, this chapter is full of love.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (John 4: 7-8)
The first thing I’d like to bring your attention to is that love is of God, and that as we show love to others we can come to know better who God is and what it means to strive to be like Him. Our Heavenly Father shows us love in many different ways, the greatest of which was the sacrifice that He made by giving up his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” (John 4: 9-10, 14)
This is the single greatest act of love in the history of the world, and we feel the effects of it today in our daily lives as we strive to become the best people we can be. We are given the ability to change and grow and ask for forgiveness because our Savior, Jesus Christ, atoned for our sins. At the same time, he suffered for our pains, our weaknesses, our sorrows & afflictions, our sicknesses, and all other types of pain. He even overcame death so that we can live with our Heavenly Father again and have the Spirit with us! (see Alma 7:11-13)
In this we can receive comfort and joy at all times as we ask God to help us feel the effects of the Atonement whenever we are suffering. Since Christ knows all of our individual pains and sorrows, we can go through life knowing that we are never truly alone and that someone has felt the exact pain that we are feeling. He knows. And He cares. He wants to help us through our trials and suffering. As we feel these wonderful blessings and feel the love of God and take advantage of the Atonement, we become closer to Him and we have his Spirit with us.
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (John 4: 16)
So how can we take this love even further and share it with the world? This chapter tells us how, and it also shows us how we can show love back to our Heavenly Father for all that He has given us. We are told that the first and greatest commandment is to love God, and that the second is to love our neighbor. (see Mark 12:30-31) And that when we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God! (see Mosiah 2:17) So the next step is to Spread Love! We show our love to God by showing love to His children and serving one another.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; … Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another … If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us … If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (John 4: 7, 11-12, 20-21)
What can you do to love one another? How can we spread love, especially today on Valentines Day, but also for the rest of our lives? I promise as we love one another and show our love for God by our acts of service, we can receive even more blessings for ourselves. We will feel the joy that God feels when He blesses His children as we bless His children. We can learn to be more like him by following His example and being kind and patient and loving with others. Through these things we can come to know our Heavenly Father and develop a relationship with Him, and we can feel the true effects of the Atonement. This gospel is one of love, happiness, and hope. Spread those things to all who you come in contact with!