I had something else entirely in mind for this devotion, then I realized that it is Valentines’ Day. I cannot say that the Bible does not affirm romantic love between a man and a woman. Song of Solomon, in my mind, is the greatest poem ever penned. But, I can and will say that the Bible certainly does not place romantic love on the altar which we modern folks do (and yes this includes believers).
“But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.”
(I Corinthians 7:32-35 NKJV)
I love Byron and Keats, but this paragraph just about sucks the life out of our ideas around romantic love and marriage, does it not? It should be noted that we absolutely can substitute any modern understanding of relationship in the romantic sense for the term married here: “the boyfriend cares about the things of the world – how to please the girlfriend”.
To me, St. Paul’s point is quite clear. Romantic love often is a distraction to our highest Purpose: service to the Kingdom of God. Here we should not philosophize. Instead let us remember that romantic love is not the blossom of human life, the Glory of God is; and romantic love can never be superior to God’s love for you.
Grace be with you,