Gary Chapman wrote a book in 1992 called The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. Chapman’s conclusion is that there are five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. They are:
1. Words of Affirmation – using words of respect and love to build up your spouse
2. Quality Time – giving your spouse your undivided attention; spending time together
3. Gifts – giving things to your spouse which shows you are of him
4. Acts of Service – doing something for your spouse to please him
5. Physical Touch – any physical expression of love, from holding hands to physical intimacy
All five of these are important in a healthy relationship, but I’ll bet you know your primary love language and hopefully, if you are married, you know your spouse’s preferences too.
Since then, Chapman has released several more “Love Language” books, to explore ways to speak love languages to your children, friends and work colleagues. Last year he even published a book called “God Speaks Your Love Language”. I haven’t read it yet but it sounds intriguing.
So is it too farfetched to think that God might have a preferred love language? Ok, maybe it’s a stretch…but stay with me here. Let’s see what He says in His Word.
First, what about gifts to Him and acts of service?
God says he no longer wants sacrifices. Jesus has become the once and for all sacrifice for us.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’ ” Hebrews 10:5-7
We can do all kinds of things in the name of God, but if we don’t make time to really know Him, those acts are worthless to Him.
On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:22-23
So how can we show love to God in ways that truly please Him?
Scripture says God is “enthroned on the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3 Some commentaries say this means He “inhabits the praises of His people”. We are called to praise and adore Him. These are Words of Affirmation.
God wants His people to not just know about Him but actually know Him. This takes intentionality in the building of an intimate relationship. This is Quality Time.
I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know Me more than I want burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
One of the clearest examples of God’s desire for us to spend time in closeness with Him, learning from and resting in Him, is the story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
In 1871, Charles Spurgeon had this to say:
The one thing needful evidently is that which Mary chose-that good part which should not be taken away from her. Very clearly this was to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear his word. This and nothing less, this and nothing more. The mere posture of sitting down and listening to the Saviour’s word was nothing in itself: it was that which it indicated. It indicated, in Mary’s case, a readiness to believe what the Saviour taught, to accept and to obey-nay to delight in, the precepts which fell from his lips. And this is the one thing needful-absolutely needful; for no rebel can enter the kingdom of heaven with the weapons of rebellion in his hands. We cannot know Christ while we resist Christ: we must be reconciled to his gentle sway, and confess that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
For a thought-provoking commentary on Martha based on this scripture, I encourage you to read an excellent article by Mary Elizabeth Baxter (1837-1926). You can find the article here.
Do you see why I feel that God may have preferred love languages? I’m going to commit to spend more time with Him, praising Him, sitting at His feet and learning from Him. Won’t you join me?
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
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