Friday, January 20, 2012

The Love Languages Of God

At my nephew’s wedding last week, we sang the hymn, O Perfect Love. It is a hymn that paints perfect love as the love that transcends all human thought and a love that knows no ending. Perfect love is the love that is seen through the perfect life of Jesus Christ. It is the love empowers us with patient hope and brave endurance as well as the childlike trust that does not fear pain or death. It is the love that gives the joy which brightens earthly sorrow and the peace which calms all earthly strife.

Unfortunately, we have a distorted view of love - we define love in terms of our feelings and what others will do for us. We are like caterpillars crawling and seeking for love to satisfy our bodily desires. But God wants us to be transformed into butterflies who will be His agents to pollinate the world with His agape love.

We need to reframe our picture of love – to see love as God’s desire for us to make the best use of our lives. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that He has prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). But before we can make a difference with our lives we need a transformation of our inner life. We need to experience God’s love so that His love can be in us and flow through us to others.

Dr. Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor, has written about the five love languages – Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, Receiving Gifts and Acts of Service - to help couples understand how they can show love to one another. God is our Divine Lover and we need to understand and appreciate the five “love languages” of God’s love.

Firstly, the bible is the means by which God gives us His Words of Affirmation. Too often we study the bible for information instead of meditating on the scripture and let God reveal His Love to us.

Secondly, prayer is the Quality Time that God wants us to spend with Him. But we see prayer as merely a time to present God with our requests or confessions. Prayer is a time of being with God and sharing with Him our hurts, fears and concerns. It is a time to be still and to listen for His loving guidance and wisdom.

Thirdly, although it is not possible to feel God's physical touch, the Holy Communion reminds us of the broken body of Christ as well as His precious blood to wash away our sins. As we eat the bread and drink the wine in the Holy Communion, we can reflect on how much God loves us for Christ died and rose from the dead to open a new and living way for us to come before the throne of God. (Hebrews 4:16, 10:20).

Fourthly, we have been given the gifts of the Spirit to help us in our struggles, suffering and temptations in our daily lives. We can see our difficult times as opportunities to receive the gifts of the Spirit. In fact, we are to give thanks IN our struggles for they are the soil for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit.

Finally, we have the church as the Body of Christ to give as well as to receive acts of service. The early disciples provided their world with their practical example of love by sharing and caring for one another (Acts 2:44, 4:32).

The Love of God is the essence of life. We can draw nearer to God's love through prayer, bible meditation, the Holy Communion, acts of service and receiving the gifts of the Spirit. May the Perfect Life of Christ in us empower us to share the Perfect Love of God with others in the power of the Holy Spirit as we celebrate the new lunar year of the dragon.

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