Gary Chapman has changed all our lives with his book on love languages. He says there are five love languages and we all have at least two that make us feel love. They are physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time and gifts. Recently our young married small group examined our own love languages and how we utilized them in our marriages.
Often, Chapman says, we give love in how we like to receive love. If gifts is our love language, than we usually like to give gifts. However, if the person we're trying to love on doesn't interpret gifts as being loved, but would rather have quality time, than even though we've done our best to show them love, they may not be able to receive our love.
It made me think about God. Does God have a love language? Is there something that makes God feel loved? It came out of a conversation I was having with God one day. I wanted Him to know that I really, really loved Him. But I know that sometimes words are easy to say. We can say, I love you all day long, but unless we're doing things that show our love, the words can be meaningless. At least that's what I Corinthians 13 says. Love here is depicted in actions..."love is kind, love is patient, love does not envy, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs..." I don't hear any "I love you's" in this passage, at least not with words.
As I asked God this day, "How can I show you I love you?", Gary Chapman's love languages came to mind, and immediately I knew what God's love language was. Do you know what it is? Is it attending church? Serving in lots of ministries? Is it spending time in prayer and bible reading? What about abstaining from all the bad sins...like alcohol, movies and playing cards? (anyone raised Baptist:)? Or does something else come to mind for you?
To answer the question, let's look at what Jesus said about what makes Him feel loved. In John 14:15 Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command."
Obedience? That's God's love language? Yes, obedience. Although attending church, bible study, and eliminating sin from our lives is all part of a healthy Christian walk, and may even be something God is asking you to do...Jesus didn't quote any of these as a sign that we love Him. What He said is, "I feel loved when you obey what I say."
You see we can sit in church every week, hearing God's message to us, and then just ignore it, and not obey it. We can read our bibles every day and pray, and hear God's message to us loud and clear, and still blow it off. And while these things are wonderful and we should do them, none of them communicate love to God. His love language is obedience.
So what does it mean to obey? Sometimes that can feel overwhelming. I talked with someone who felt if she didn't obey everything God said in the bible, she was sinning. I replied, "You can only obey what you know, what God has asked you to obey." In other words, obey what God is asking you today...don't worry about all the things you don't know you're not doing...just start with the one thing He's asking you today.
God is so kind and gentle and gracious towards us. I've discovered that He doesn't bombard me with dozens of requests at once of things to obey...it's usually one thing at a time. Obeying God may seem difficult, but all it takes is staying close to Him so you recognize His voice when He asks you to do something, and then saying "Yes, God I'll do that." You may not want to do it, or even know how to do it, but that's okay. Because God will give you the desire to obey, and even the step by step process in how to do it. Your starting point is just saying, "Yes."
John 3:16 says that God showed His love towards us by sending us His Son as a Redeemer and Savior. Thankfully God doesn't ask the same level of sacrifice from us...only that we'll obey what He asks us to do. Do you want to show God you love Him? How can you make God feel loved today?
"If you love me," He says, "You'll obey what I command."
It's that simple.