A man named Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages. On his website Chapman says, “Of the countless ways we can show love to one another, five key categories, or five love languages, proved to be universal and comprehensive—everyone has a love language, and we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.” Chapman says that couples should find one another’s love language and begin to express their love for one another through their unique love language.
This week we’ve been talking about the importance of loving God. How do we express our love for God? What is God’s love language? As you read what the Bible has to say about the impact loving God has on our lives, the most common thing you see is obedience. In the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, obedience to God’s Word is what God wants most. In fact, God says that simple obedience is far better than the best sacrifices we can make (1 Samuel 15:22).
Jesus laid this out more clearly than anyone else did.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. John 14:15 (NKJV)
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21 (NKJV)
“…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word…He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” John 14:23-24 (NKJV)
While there are many passages of Scripture that are difficult to understand, these do not fall into that category. What Jesus says and means are as plain and clear as it gets. Jesus lets us know that it really doesn’t matter what we say. What matters is how we live. We can say that we love Jesus with all our hearts, soul and mind. We can give testimonies of our love for Jesus that bring everyone who hears it to tears. However, if our lives don’t match our words, then our words don’t matter. That may sound rough, but it’s still the truth. To make it even more complicated look at what the Apostle John wrote.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3 (NKJV)
To me this is where we see that this isn’t something we make ourselves do. I mean, I can make myself do all sorts of things. However, just because I make myself do it doesn’t mean I won’t consider it a burden.
Everything we do for Jesus and His Kingdom should be motivated by our love for Him. It should be natural for us to be at church, to give of our time, to use our spiritual gives, to give generously and just generally be active in our service and devotion to Jesus. We don’t do these things because “we have to” but because we love Jesus, and praise God He loves us. This knowledge and relationship should motivate us to do more, to do it better and with a better attitude than obligation ever could. We have to recognize that when everything we do for Jesus is a burden to us, then something is wrong with our love for Jesus.
In the Army, there were some soldiers who did what they were told, when they were told and only if they were told. They never did any more and they never did any less. Whatever the minimum standard was that was what they met. Everything they did was done with grumbling, groaning, griping and moaning. Their love for being a soldier had long since faded and they did what they did only because they were obligated to and so they wouldn’t get in trouble.
Then there were soldiers who were always striving to meet a higher standard than you could set. They saw the minimum standard not as the goal to shoot for but as the place to start at, and everything they did was done with enthusiasm and accompanied with a loud and thunderous “Hooah!” They did what they did because they loved being soldiers and wanted to be good ones.
Really, those two attitudes are pretty accurate for the attitudes we can develop in our service to Jesus. For some the only reason they do anything whether it’s come to church, give of their time, use their spiritual gifts, give generously, read their Bible, pray or just generally be active in their service to Jesus, it’s only done because they feel obligated to and they don’t want to get in trouble with God. What they do, they feel they “have” to do and it is accompanied with grumbling, groaning, griping and moaning. Fear of His chastisement is more of a motivating factor for what they do than love is, and they only do the bare minimum to keep from being “punished.”
Then there are other Christians who serve and never see what they are doing as an obligation. What they do, they do out of a love for God and a desire to bring Him glory and pleasure. What they do is done with enthusiasm and may be accompanied with amen’s, praise the Lord’s or hallelujah’s.
Are you speaking God’s love language? If so, which attitude describes you best?