Are you and God speaking the same language?
It happens frequently in marriages. It even happens when one spouse tries to communicate love to the other. Because we often speak different “love languages.” This concept was developed by Gary Chapman in his book, “The Five Love Languages.” He lists the following languages:
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
Chapman points out that most of us have one, or at most two primary languages. We speak and receive the message of love in that language almost exclusively. In a hypothetical marriage relationship, the husband (who speaks the language of gifts) buys flowers or candy for his wife to communicate his love. But since she speaks the language of acts of service, the flowers are received as a cheap token, because if he “really loved her he would roll up his sleeves and help with the dishes/cleaning, etc.” In this case, the message of love was not received. She blurts, “You don’t really love me!” And he objects, “Of course I do, that’s why I buy you gifts!” They’re speaking different languages.
Now think about Jesus’ great commandment. It is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. What language does God speak? I want to suggest that he’s multi-lingual. With the exception of physical touch (he is pure spirit), I think that God hears ALL of the languages. I suspect God’s love language is a mash-up of all of those, and probably some we’ve never thought of!
Which language do you speak when you express love for God? What if we learned to be multi-lingual in our love for God?
- There would be words of affirmation, expressed in prayer, worship, and (gasp) even social media.
- The would be quality time, seen in listening thru prayer and Scripture reading and reflection.
- There would be gifts, often understood as our time, talents and treasures.
- And there would be acts of service, done not out of guilt or obligation, but as genuine expressions of love to our heavenly father.
When you think about expressing love for God, which language to you favor? Which language seems foreign to you? And what could you do this month to begin to develop fluency in the other love languages?