Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.
-1 Corinthians 13:13
In 1992, Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate was published. It is a very good tool for couples who are married or thinking of marriage. It makes each person analyze how they show love and how they like love to be shown to them. The book explains five ways people tend to give and receive love: 1. Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
I feel deeply loved when my husband spends time with me, touches me sweetly, does things for me, says kind things to me, and gives me gifts (in that order of importance!). These were researched, written, and shared to help relationships and marriages between people, but today I want to take just a moment to look at these in regards to having a relationship with our God in Heaven (not as the author intended).
Words of Affirmation
Beautiful words to my Lord come easily when I gratefully list my blessings and thank Him for all the good things that have happened in my life. I find myself even thanking Him for the hard lessons I have learned from difficult situations in the past because that is where true growth has occurred. God wants to hear from us! We were created to worship Him. My favorite way to affirm my love for God is to sing praises to Him.
Quality time with God is not reading a devotional as quickly as possible to check it off my daily to-do list. Instead, I need to spend a few moments reading, reflecting, and listening to His voice. Listening while expecting to hear something in return is important. Sometimes I get a whisper from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I just get a feeling of comfort or of strength. He lets Himself be known when we rest in Him.
When we think of gifts, we usually think of what God gives to us. We have all been given different gifts. Many gifts are mentioned in different books of the Bible. Spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 include: giving wise advice, knowledge, great faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discernment, language, and interpretation. What about giving God gifts? We can worship Him in praise and in our actions to please Him, but I believe that God is truly blessed any time we use our God-given gifts to glorify Him or to spread His love to others. The greatest gift we can give God is surrender – not just our heart, but EVERYTHING to God for His glory and purpose.
Acts of Service
God has done EVERYTHING for us! Though we cannot earn our way into the Kingdom of Heaven, if we are living for God, it will be obvious to others through our actions. James 2:20 (NLT) says, “How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?” Any time we are lovingly showing kindness or sharing God’s true path of salvation with someone, we are performing Acts of Service in God’s honor. This pleases God.
Have you ever prayed so fervently that you felt as though you were being lifted up by God? We may not be holding His hand with our worldly hand, but God is near. I seek God spiritually. Recently I read a devotional that encouraged the reader to seek God’s face as though you were kissing your father on the cheek. 1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” I want to be the expression of God’s love by letting Him live in me.
Our relationship with God should be paramount – placed before even our spouse and our children. Some days I live this out. Other days I allow the world in front of my eye to take over. Chores for the day, appointments, my own selfish desires, laziness, anger, pride – even my love for my husband and children – can become something I allow to block my growth in my Christian walk if I put them in the wrong order. Give your best to God first, and everyone you know will benefit!
Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”