God's Love Language (part 4)
by Hilary MacBeth
by Hilary MacBeth
Title God's Love Language (part 4)
Theme The five languages of Love
Three issues ago, in the introduction to this article, the authour listed the five languages of love as:
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Words of Affirmation
Last issue we looked at the second. In this issue we will look at the third of these languages.
3. Receiving Gifts:
James tells us that every good and perfect gift comes down to us from the creator and God certainly knows how to give gifts.
Paul tells us in:
Eph 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourself, it is the gift of God."
We don't begin to understand the devastating effect of sin. Sure we know our experience with it, how it feels and in part how what it does to us but I don't believe we see it in its full colours, how abhorrent it is. Not the way God sees it. God sees it in all its devastation and he understood the radical measure needed to eradicate it, that is why we can never begin to earn our salvation, the cost is way too high and any puny little effort we might attempt doesn't begin to address that cost. That's where God's grace comes in. Someone has described grace as a bridge spanning the yawning chasm between who God is and who we are. If you are very spiritually athletic you might be able to leap some of the distance toward God and those less spiritually fit could leap a lesser distance but if we all took a leap at the end of the day we would all be in the same spot - at the bottom of the chasm, bruised and battered if not dead from the effort. God in his mercy understands that we are spiritual weaklings and so he provides a bridge reaching from his side of the chasm right across to our side. That bridge is his son Jesus Christ who paid the price for our salvation at Calvary - the debt is paid in full. That is Grace. That is what our amazing God offers us as a free gift. Isn't he wonderful? But God doesn't force his gift onto us, he holds it out to us and waits for us to reach out and accept it. So it's our choice as to whether we accept salvation or not, God has already made his choice and he chooses us because he loves us and he longs for us to choose him.
And Jesus's part in this?
This is what he said to his followers and he says it to us today.:
John 15:9 "I love you just as my father loves me, remain in my love. If you obey my commandments you will remain in my love just as I have obeyed my father's commands and remain in his love." (Remain is to stay or to live i.e live in God's love)
As the Message puts it:
"Make yourself at home in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain intimately at home in my love.What Jesus is saying is 'Be comfortable and secure in my love. Be loyal to me and follow my teachings and when you do that you will experience my love as your home.' "
I find this a very appealing analogy. Home is where we are free to be ourselves, were we rest and recharge our batteries, It's where our food and clothing are (and we can think of that in terms of our spiritual food and spiritual clothing), where we escape to at the end of the day (and during the day) and close the door and feel safe. It's where we launch ourselves from each day as we go out and do the business of living.
It's our safe haven. And above all it's where we belong as children of God.
16. I will ask the father and he will give you another helper and he will stay with you forever.
26. The helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name will teach you everything and help you remember all that I have told you.
I think we tend to overlook the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We seem to be so afraid of being caught up in emotional experiences in our worship that we err on the side of caution and give the Holy Spirit a low profile - that's my impression anyway. But we must embrace the Holy Spirit as a part of us if he is to do the work he came to do. I know that on a personal level I need to be more aware of the role he plays in my salvation. If I am more open to him he can be more effective at keeping me at home in God's love. And as my teacher I certainly need to be aware of him and what he is teaching me.
If I understand this correctly - the Holy Spirit is God's presence in the world and therefore it is through him that God comes close to us, it is him whom we meet in our daily walk with God. How important it is to allow the Holy Spirit to befriend us and to be in active partnership with him by allowing him to guide and instruct and to teach. So the role of the Holy Spirit is to keep us in relationship with God but since he is part of the Godhead (one of those mysteries we tend to find difficult to understand) it means being in relationship with him.
Rom 8:14-17 "... because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
God's gift to us of the Holy Spirit is an expression of his everlasting love for us. So God gives wonderful, soul saving gifts. It's up to us to receive them and he asks us to teach others about his gifts so that they can receive them too. And our gift to God is our relationship with him and our faithfulness in showing others the truth about him. And when we do that we are speaking God's love language to others.
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