He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8, NKJV).

Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8, NKJV).

Tomorrow is the last day of February, when we will officially say goodbye to the “month for lovers.” Valentine’s Day has come and gone, flowers have been sent, candy purchased (and eaten!), romantic dinners enjoyed, $5 cards bought and delivered. So…now what? Does the celebration of love come to a screeching halt until this time next year?

Only if your concept of love is extremely shallow and self-centered. Sadly, in many cases, it is exactly that. And the results aren’t pretty.

Worse-case scenario? Oscar Pistorius claimed to love his beautiful girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, and may even have been planning a romantic surprise for her this past Valentine’s Day. Instead, he ended up shooting her to death. Whether accidentally or on purpose is for a South African judge to decide, but either way the young woman is dead and she won’t be celebrating anymore Valentine’s Days.

Tragic, whatever the circumstances that led to the shooting. Most so-called love relationships don’t end so tragically, and we can be thankful for that. Still, without a firm grounding in the sacrificial meaning of the word “love,” it would be easy to despair of ever finding it in this life.

Yet we all long for love, and that longing drives us from the time we are infants until our last breath. But without first turning to God, the One who loves us so much that He gave everything to restore our relationship to Him, and recognizing Him as love’s only source, we will fail in our quest. To one degree or another, our experiences with love, apart from God and His great sacrifice on our behalf, will never fulfill that longing in our hearts.

If we want love that never fails, then we must remember that simple statement in 1 John: “God is love.” When we lay hold of that wonderful truth, we will never again relegate the celebration of love to one particular month or day. We will celebrate it always and forever!