God's Love Language (part 2)
by Hilary MacBeth
by Hilary MacBeth
Title God's Love Language (part 2)
Theme The five languages of Love
Last month, 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
In this issue we expand on the first of these languages.
1. QUALITY TIME
What about us? How well do we know God? Well the best way I know to get to know a person is to spend time with them. And the more time we spend with that person the better we get to know them. That's logic isn't it?
James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.
As in all matters pertaining to faith we have to take the first step i.e making a move toward God, then God can and does reward our act of faith by moving toward us and he's always on the lookout for our first move.
Remember the story Jesus told of the prodigal son? How the father saw him when he was a long way off. Can you imagine the father frequently looking down the road with his hand shielding his eyes against the glare of the sun, scanning the road for a sign of his wandering boy? Remember how when he saw that familiar, loved figure in the distance he hitched up his long garments and ran to meet his back-from-the-dead son. The father in the story is God and the son is you and me.
It's hard for some people to relate to God as a loving father because their own fathers were unloving people and didn't represent God correctly to their children. If this is your story try asking God to help you see and know how much he loves you. He has so much love to give you and he wants you to experience all the wonderful things he has in store for you.
Jesus told another story about a shepherd who lost one of his sheep. A sheep had wandered away from the flock and because the shepherd was watchful he noticed that one was missing. So off he went searching here and there for the wanderer, calling to it until he found it. He must have been really concerned for the safety of the sheep because when he found it he was delighted. He even hoisted it up on his shoulders and carried it back to the safety of the flock. Perhaps the sheep was hurt. Perhaps it was tired. We do know that it was a very valuable sheep to the shepherd because he called his friends and neighbours and had a party to celebrate its safe return. Jesus gives us an idea of how valuable and precious we are to God and how much grief we give him when we sin when he says that there is more joy in heaven over the sinner who repents than there is over all the righteous who have no need to repent. What this story suggests is that God is actively searching for us, calling to us to respond to him. Each time our conscience stirs and leaves us with that Not-OK feeling it is God's voice calling out to us warning us that we are wandering and are in an unsafe situation. What a loving God. He doesn't want to lose one of us. We are too precious. And if you wonder how valuable you are to him just consider the price he paid for you.
Prov. 15:8 God delights in the prayer of the upright.
Imagine that! God is delighted when we seek him in prayer. And he is interested in having a deep relationship with us.
In fact God makes getting to know him easy for us because his greatest desire is to spend time with us.
Deut. 4:29: If you search for him with all your heart and soul you will find him.
And again -
Jer. 29:13,14 "If you look for me in earnest you will find me. When you seek me
I will be found by you." says the Lord
It's not the casual look that will find God but an earnest search. And we don't stop searching when we find him because the more we search the more we find, it's a journey that goes on throughout our lives. And if we stop searching we will lose sight of him.
We can see that God is not interested in shallow relationships with his children. He is in the serious business of saving our souls from the devil - something he is totally committed to so we also must be totally committed to doing our part and that is to be open to the influence of the Holy Spirit. How do we do that? By spending time with God and exposing ourselves to his character. That way something of his character will rub off onto us until little by little we begin to change and become more and more like him. The more time we spend with him the more quickly the change will happen. And how do we spend time with him? Through prayer and study of his word, that's where we find him and remember it needs to be a diligent search if we are to make the connection.
Many of us have lives that are so full of busyness, meeting the needs of others - the boss, the family, the neighbour, the church. In fact we can be so busy taking care of people and things that we forget to take care of ourselves. From childhood we've been taught - God first, others second, self last and we get so used to self being last that sometimes last becomes never. This can have disastrous results when we become too busy and too neglectful of our own needs to pursue a relationship with God.
God created a need in us to be in relationship with him and when that need is not met we are left with a feeling of unease and dissatisfaction. Is that a familiar feeling? It is for me - whenever I get distracted from pursuing my relationship with God. And the only way I know to get rid of that feeling is to renew the connection.
I attended a program run by Joy Butler recently and she said, (and I like this very much), "We are so good at being HUMANDOINGS, that we forget how to simply be HUMANBEINGS". Think about that. God says, "Be still and know that I am God". Be still. When God speaks to our hearts in that still, small voice of His we need to be still to catch what He's saying. By stillness I mean shutting out all the distractions and concentrating on coming into God's presence.
When we hear people talking like this we may think, "Yep, that's a good I idea. I'll do that when I get time." By that we mean, when the house is tidy, when the children are in bed, when the assignment is finished, when I get back from the business trip. But God longs for our company and He doesn't want to wait until our lives are in order. He simply wants us to come. Perhaps the time when we most need to come is in those times of chaos, when we feel under pressure, when we are stressed.
His promise is:
Matt. 11:28,29. Come to me all you who are tired from carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke and put it on you and learn from me because I am gentle and humble in spirit and you will find rest. For the yoke I give you is easy and the load I will put on you is light.
I love that verse. I read somewhere that back in Bible time when a young ox was being broken in for harness work it was yoked with an experienced ox. The difference was that the young ox's harness was loose and didn't take much of the weight of the load. By contrast the harness on the experienced ox was tight and it took the major share of weight. Beautiful isn't it?
What a comfort that God understands what it means to be human!
Being still before God goes hand in hand with our search for God. So in our stillness - our freedom from distraction - we need to be active. Remember, God says that if we search for Him we will find Him.
Deut.4: 29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
When we seek for something with all our heart and soul we're on a very serious mission, something that means a great deal to us. Our search for God is like that - our eternal destiny depends on it. And when we search with all our heart and soul we are not going to give up and lose interest after a short time.
The great thing is that we are not the only ones seeking. As we seek God he seeks us and meets us in our search for him.
Psalm 53:2 God looks down from Heaven upon the children of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
So he is watching to see if we are looking for Him.
God just loves human company:
- Matt.18:20: Where two or three are gathered in my name there I am among them.
- I think of Daniel and the amount of time he spent in prayer to God. How God must have delighted in Daniel
- And what about Enoch? The Bible gives me the impression that God was so delighted with Enoch's company that he didn't want to be separated from him and so rather than allowing nature to takes its course God took Enoch home to be with him.
- God desires our company too and longs for us to walk with him. And in that walk we get to know God. We get to know his character and his desires and we are able then to represent him to others. This is his goal for our lives - that we should share his love with others so that they too can have a saving relationship with him.
So for God quality time with his children is an important love language. In our turn God wants us to spend time ministering to the needs of others, getting to know them and modeling a life that is connected to him, just as the faithful Naomi did. So when we look for opportunities to get to know people, when we take time to listen to their stories, share in their sorrows and joys and do what we can to encourage them along the way we are speaking God's language of love to them.
Please return for Part 3 of this article in the next edition of the Online Magazine.
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