God’s Love Language
Speaking the same language connects hearts together. Language is a “system of words for communication.” The term “love languages” was made popular in the early nineties by marriage author Gary Chapman. Along with “words”, Chapman lists four other “languages” by which to express love: gifts, time, touch, and service. If you want to check out what twelve million other readers have discovered, here’s the link. So how do we deeply connect with God? What is God’s love language?
A Portal Into God’s Heart
The Gospel narrative is a portal into the Father’s heart. The Father is the one who first captivated our interest in knowing Jesus. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him [giving him the desire to come to Me]…Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father, comes to Me. Jn. 6:44-45 (AMP) And if we want to discover God’s love language, we only need to study the interaction between Jesus and His Father. How God connects with God, to me, is the most inspiring model upon which to build my own personal connection.
Listen and Learn
One facet of God’s love language and a primary means by which we connect, is by staying in the posture of listening and learning. Jesus modeled this for us by taking on the limitations of manhood. Phil. 2:6-7 He did not walk the earth on some kind of “auto-pilot” but needed to connect with God on a daily basis. He prayed often, to listen and learn the “next steps” of his mission. It’s a vital first step however, to believe and gain the assurance in your heart, that God DOES value an ongoing relationship with you. A major obstruction for most of us, is the history of inaccurate messages that we listened to and learned from, namely that God is not that interested in your life. Hence the need to be persistent in our intent.
“The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Jn. 8:29 Another translation expands the meaning: “The One who sent me stays with me. He doesn’t abandon me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing Him. (MSG) Some might react by thinking: If I don’t tow the line, God will abandon me. I look at it this way: the yellow lines on the road are not a punishment to restrict my freedom in driving, but a protection against oncoming traffic that could kill me! I think it’s pretty obvious, that the lanes of traffic (culture) running counter to God’s heart, are not shy to swallow up one’s faith. If I choose to self-govern my life, no longer seeking to please God, I am basically choosing to face the opposition on my own strength.
I love this rendering from The Passion Translation: “The Father has an intense love for me because I freely give my own life—to raise it up again. I surrender my own life, and no one has the power to take my life from me. I have the authority to lay it down and the power to take it back again. This is the destiny my Father has set before me.” Jn. 10:17-18 Are we seeing a pattern in God’s love language? Undoubtedly, “sacrifice” is a vital component. Blends well with surrender, listening, and learning, doesn’t it? We have been granted a wonderful freedom; we have the authority to lay down our lives.
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His [own] life for the sheep. But the hired man [who merely serves for wages], who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming, deserts the flock and runs away; and the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. The man runs because he is a hired hand [who serves only for wages] and is not concerned about the [safety of the] sheep. Jn. 10:11-13 (AMP) Merely serving for wages is self serving, and when I’m trapped in that place, I seldom love or sacrifice deeply.
Who is in your shepherding circle – those you have the opportunity to invest in and protect? It’s all about taking ownership – not running when there’s a threat. As a pastor I must confess, there were times along the way when I was like a hired man, serving for compensation, not willing to sacrifice for the sheep. Even worse, I used to treat myself the same way, with the counterfeit humility of self-disdain. When you abandon yourself, there isn’t much to give to others.
We sacrifice when we have established the value of the process. “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son.” Jn. 3:16 (AMP) This is God’s love language, proven by His actions. “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.” Rom. 12:1 (AMP) This is our love language to God. Let’s prove it by our actions.