• Jesse Smith

The 3 W's

Valentine’s Day always conjures up a wide range of emotions for folks this time of year. Single people may wish that Hallmark would allow them to celebrate the beauty of singleness in peace. Cheapskates may feel like V-Day is simply an overrated attempt to grab a few more dollars from their wallets and purses. The day also means different things to those freshly in love compared to long-time lovers.


And whatever you think about Valentines', this year, I want to invite you to think about something I learned in a discipleship cohort a few years back. As we were talking about the great love chapter in Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, we looked at the “Three W’s: Words, Works, and Way.”


We talked about how, in a relationship, you can get the “words” right and still miss it. We have probably all experienced people who say the right things but have actions that tell a different story. And it is important to remember Dr. Maya Angelou’s wisdom here: “When people tell you who they are, believe them.” People tell us who they are, not just by the words they use but by the way they act.

We also talked about how you could get the “works” right and still miss it. It is possible to bring home flowers and chocolate to your significant other -- out of duty or obligation but still miss the heart behind the gift. When this happens, we confirm the shallowness that so many feel about Valentines' as just another commercialized holiday without any substance.


But a beautiful thing happens when our “words,” and “works” align with the “way of Christ.” When our words and our works follow the way of Jesus -- they are spoken and given with humility and a true desire for the best for the person we are loving and that kind of love is an unstoppable force.


Think of the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples. Think of how his actions were in harmony with his words. And think of the way of Christ as that wellspring of love that came from deep inside of the person of Christ.


Honestly, we rarely see and experience a love like that. And we rarely extend to others a love like that. Most people, even the most sincere, often have unspoken or hidden agendas, which is why Bob Goff says in his book, Love Does, “We’re all amateurs when it comes to love.”


So as we continue to become what we were made to be, hopefully, we can align ourselves more fully with the true love of Christ. May our words and works follow the way of Christ.

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