I recently read a book that I highly recommend, The Five Love Languages of Children, by Drs. Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. It discusses the five love languages as it relates to raising and parenting your kids - incredible read! The premise is that when we speak our childrens' love languages, we fill up their love tank, letting them know we love them unconditionally and completely. When a child feels love from their parent(s), they act loved. What does a loved child act like? Well, they love others more fully, completely and unconditionally. They do better in school; they have healthier relationships; they are secure and confident; and, they receive and adhere to discipline well. As I read, I was more and more intrigued on how God (our Father) uses the love languages to love and discipline us (His children). And, that's what I'd like to discuss today.
God speaks to you and to me, and He speaks in a love language each of us understands and needs. He doesn't need to read a book to determine what love language you speak or need at that time. God created each of us, knit us together in our mothers' wombs, and He is intimately acquainted with all of our ways (Psalms 139). He knew the way in which we would need Him to speak to us before He even formed the world. So, let's dive in and discover how God speaks to each of us uniquely.
Words of Affirmation
Words of Affirmation are loving words that build-up, uplift and give life. The most obvious way that God speaks to His children through this language is found in the Bible. The Bible is full of acts of God's love and faithfulness - things that remind us of His character. And, it is full of specific words that He speaks to individuals - things that encourage us in His love for us. Examples below:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;" (Jeremiah 1:5, ESV)
"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8, ESV)
"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." (1 John 3:1a, ESV)
"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations," (Deuteronomy 7:9, ESV)
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, ESV)
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27, ESV)
"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." (Psalms 139:14, ESV)
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV)
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9, ESV)
"fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10, ESV)
"The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Psalms 118:6, ESV)
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, ESV)
"'Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.'" (Isaiah 49:15-16, ESV)
"As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him." (Psalms 103:13, ESV)
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28, ESV)
"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV)
"Bless the LORD, O my soul,and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity,who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit,who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s." (Psalms 103:2-5, ESV)
Of course, in order to receive these words, you must read the Word. If this is your primary love language, I encourage you to read the Bible. God has spoken to each us through His Word, and now we must read it, study it, apply it and live it.
As Christians, God abides inside each of us (Galatians 2:20). He is always present and ready to hang out. Most people set aside designated "quiet time" to be alone with God and really focus on His voice and spend time in His presence. I am absolutely an advocate of this and I do this myself. But, God isn't bound by our "quiet time." We can call on Him and spend time with Him throughout our busy days. All we have to do is reach out.
If this is your primary love language, set aside a "quiet time" where it will be easier to focus on God and His voice. Speak to Him and then be still and allow Him to speak to you. He will. And, throughout your day, simply acknowledge His presence - reach out to Him in word, worship or prayer. You will be amazed at how instantaneously the peace of His presence washes over you.
Acts of Service
When I was reading the book I've referenced above, this was the one love language they said gets slightly overlooked because everything a parent does for a child is an act of service - bathing, feeding, diapering, carpooling, cooking, laundering, etc. It's easy to overlook and undervalue these basic necessities. It's the same way with God. He gives us life each day; He provides for us; He takes everything in our lives and weaves them all together for our good (Romans 8:28); He protects us; He guides us each day. Everything that happens in our lives - the mundane and the extraordinary - is allowed by God. He orchestrates everything perfectly to carry out the good plans He has for each of us and to bring glory to His name (Jeremiah 29:11).
If this is your primary love language, write down all the ways in which God provides and performs for you - big and small. Write it down and read it aloud, often. Acknowledge His acts and thank Him for everything - right down to the sweet tweeting of a bird you noticed when you awoke this morning, knowing it was God reminding you of His sweet love for you.
This one may seem impossible since God is a spirit, and I definitely had a hard time trying to wrap my mind around this one. But, I know so many people who's primary love language is physical touch, and I know God wouldn't leave them hanging. I believe there are a couple of ways God speaks through this language. First, through our community of believers. God has placed each person in our lives for a reason. He instructs us to surround ourselves with a Christian community to encourage and sharpen one another's faith (Hebrews 10:24-25, Proverbs 27:17). It is through these people that God delivers His love for us in a physical way. When I was going through the miscarriage and needed a tender, loving touch, it was my family and friends who surrounded me and smothered me in hugs. I felt the full love of God through each person that wrapped their arms around me. 1 Corinthians 12:27 says that we are the "body of Christ," the physical manifestation of God and His love on earth.
Another way I believe God speaks through this love language is through His presence. When I am worshipping God, I can feel His presence in an almost tangible way. And, when I am sad, I can feel His peace envelop me and I instantly calm down. Although we cannot see the physical form of God, I believe we can physically feel His Spirit and the effects of His Spirit.
If this is your primary love language, surround yourself with other believers. Encourage one another and lean on them for support when you need it. Not everything is appropriate to share with everyone, I know. There is something to be said of privacy and what you say just to your spouse, but there is also something to be said of being so private that you don't let others in. When others don't know the pain you're going through, how can they surround and minister to you? Invite Christian people into your life and do life with them. And, first and foremost, lean on Jesus. Ask Him to surround you with His love in a tangible way, so that you can feel His loving arms wrap around you. He loves to answer those prayers!
God has given us the ultimate gift of eternal life with Him in heaven through the life, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." (John 3:16-17, ESV)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23, ESV)
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit," (1 Peter 3:18, ESV)
Jesus is the ultimate gift from God. But, just because you're given a gift doesn't mean you have the benefits of the gift unless you open it and receive. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? God is so in love with you, His child, and longs to be brought into close relationship with you. If you would like to accept His free gift of salvation, please visit our Resources page to pray a prayer, receiving this gift. If this is your primary love language, dwell on the sacrifice Jesus made just for you (Luke 15:10). Thank Him for His salvation.
What's Your Language?
So, what is your primary love language? Do you feel your God has filled your love tank in the way you need it? My primary love language is acts of service, with gifts as a close second. I have felt God nudging me for years to start a book of remembrance, an ebenezer, including all of the things God has done for me over the years and all of my answered prayers. I thought it was just a way for me to remember everything so that I would give thanks where thanks is due, but now I see it is God's way of reminding me of His great love for me. He wants to fill my love tank so that I may abound in His love for me and be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19). He wants to do the same for you, too. Will you let Him? You see, just because there is love being given, even in our language, doesn't mean we have to accept that love. We must choose to receive it and choose to live loved.
Scriptures referenced in this post:
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20, ESV)
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV)
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17, ESV)
"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." (1 Corinthians 12:27, ESV)
"Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10, ESV)
"that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:16-19, ESV)