Our world gives us so many confusing ideas about ‘love’.
But, there is only one true love and that’s the love we find in God.
Use this youth group lesson to teach teens that God shows us what true love should look like by the way He loves us.
This is an awesome lesson to use around Valentine’s Day.
Hope you enjoy it!
– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
VALENTINE’S DAY LESSON ON TRUE LOVE
Written by Tiffany Hollums
Bible: Revelation 2:4-5
Bottom Line: God shows us what true love should look like by the way that He loves us.
- Bags of conversation hearts candy
- 6 bowls
- Long table
- Hearts for each student (could be a foam heart or even heart rocks… whatever you find will work!)
OPENING GAME: HEART TO HEART
For this game, you will need several bags of conversation hearts candy.
Divide the group into three equal teams.
Set-up a long table with three bowls across from where the teams are lined up.
Each team will have a bowl of conversations hearts (start with 10 per student, or more, if you want this game to go on for a while!)
Have each team line up in a single file behind their bowl of hearts.
Say: Today, we will test your commitment to love.
Each team has a bowl of heart candy.
When I say GO, the first person in the front of each teams’ line will grab a heart from the bowl.
Place it on your forehead and put your hands behind your back.
You will run to the bowl on the table and without using your hands drop the candy from your forehead into the bowl.
Then, you will run back to your team and tag the hand of the next person in line.
The team that gets the most hearts in their bowl will win.
If you drop your heart… well, it’s broken… just kidding.
Just run back to your bowl, get another heart and try again.
Now, if you have to go back 5 times, just run back and tag the next person.
How many of you would say that you have been in love?
If your group is younger, they might not be able to relate.
Share a funny story about your first love, which will help clear the uncomfortable air you just caused with the “love” question.
Some of you may not have experienced a ‘first love’.
Maybe you’ve seen TV shows, movies, or heard songs that talk about first love – can you think of any examples?
Wait for students to respond and share a couple of examples.
Let’s talk about this: When someone first falls in love, what kinds of things do they do? Act like? Think about?
Write down their answers to use later in the lesson.
Hopefully it will include things like: they are all you can think about, you want to talk to them all the time, what to spend time together, etc.
Our culture gives us all kinds of crazy examples of love.
You say you ‘love’ this food or you ‘love’ your phone… but when it really comes down to the word, love, what does it mean?
God shows us what true love really looks like through Jesus.
God sent his only son (John 3:16) to die for us… now, THAT IS LOVE, right?
God basically shows us what love should look like by the way that He loves us.
And what does He want in return?
God loves us so much and He desires for us to love him back.
We can make our relationship with God about all kinds of things, but if we miss the fact that God wants us to love Him back, we miss the point.
Think of it this way… The Bible is really just a huge love story in which God, the creator of everything, just wants His people to love Him.
And over and over they chose not to.
Yet, what does God do?
Gives them another chance.
Finds another way to show them that He loves them.
It is like God is yelling through a mega phone: Hey, I love you.
And we have on noise canceling headphones.
Have you ever really fully accepted the fact that God loves you?
He loves you so much that there is nothing that He wouldn’t’ do for you.
Not just the person in youth who you think is the perfect Christian.
Not just your pastor.
And all that we have to do is return that love.
Remember those notes that you used to write as kids: Do you love me? Check “yes”, “No” or “Maybe”?
Think of God sending one of those to you every single day.
And most of the time how do you answer?
Maybe you’ve never thought of it this way, but how do you answer that simple question?
With your actions and with your time.
Because whether you knew it or not… God is waiting on that answer.
The Book of Revelation is the last book in the New Testament.
One really interesting part of this book are the letters that are written to the churches.
John is told to write these letters to early churches.
Some of them get really good letters… but others get some pretty harsh letters.
One of the letters is to the church in Ephesus (the book of Ephesians which was written to this church) and they get what seems a pretty good report card.
They work hard and don’t give up. (Revelation 2:2)
They don’t put up with people who are wicked or who twist the Word of God. (Revelation 2:2b)
They have even had hard things happen and haven’t given up. (Revelation 2:3)
Sounds pretty good, right?
How many of us would hope that God would say this to us?
But let’s see what else the letter says:
Read Revelation 2:4-5.
What is the criticism that God has for this church?
They have forgotten their first love.
Look at the things we wrote on the board earlier about ‘first love’.
What would it look like to be in love with God for the first time?
Maybe you have experienced it: What did you do? Feel? Act like?
Write these things down on the board.
Share about your experience when you first fell in love with God.
Also, this would be an amazing opportunity for the students to ask you questions following your sharing.
For some, they have no idea what it means to be in love with God.
I want to give all of you a chance to really fall in love with God.
For some of you, you just need a reminder like this church needed a reminder… remember what you first did when you fell in love with Jesus.
Remember how you would read your Bible, or share your faith, or pray because you needed to and not because you felt that you HAD to?
Remember how excited you were.
We live in a society where love seems to be cheap.
People seem to fall in and out of love, but here is the tough truth about any relationship: loving relationships also take work.
You might not ‘feel’ that butterfly in your stomach or get excited to the point that you want to shout from a rooftop every single time you pray or read your Bible, but if you keep doing those things you will connect with God.
Even when you don’t feel it.
Then, there are some of you who haven’t ever heard or considered that God, the creator of the Universe, would want to have a relationship with you.
He longs to talk to you, listen to you, cry with you, get to know you.
Pray and just share your thoughts with Him like you would a good friend.
Maybe even just write some texts to God. (I’m not sure where you would send them, but make a note on your phone.)
Share your heart.
Because God is there to meet you and He loves you more than you can ever imagine.
He wants you to fall in love with Him because He has always and will always love you.
Whether you realize it or not, everyone is somewhere in a relationship with God.
Maybe you need to meet God.
Maybe you need to go back and reconnect with God.
Where are you?
(Hand out the hearts that you have prepared for each student.)
Come and take one of these hearts as we close in prayer.
Sometimes it is just a matter of giving yourself some time to listen and ask God to help you hear him.
Take that time as we pray.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- How is a relationship with God similar to a relationship with a person? How is it different, or is it?
- Why do you think ‘true love’ is such a difficult thing to find today?
- How does it make you feel to know that God loves you?
- How would you describe God’s love?
- How would you describe your relationship with God?
- What is your heart going to remind you of this week?
- What are some things that will help you to to keep growing in your relationship with God?
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Tiffany has been in youth ministry for over 20 years and is currently serving as the Pastor of Student Ministries at Bee Creek UMC in Spicewood, TX.