Everyone knows about love languages. I see it all the time, on Twitter… people proclaiming their love language. Insisting theirs makes the most sense. Suggesting there’s got to be something wrong with people whose love language is that one, or this other one.
Some people have made up love languages too. Like, wings. Wings is not one of the options. Stop it. Lol (wings are good, tho)
In his nearly 30 year old book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, Dr. Gary Chapman outlines these five different ways we all love and receive love. The languages we speak love in. The beauty of Dr. Chapman using the word “language” to describe these love methodologies is that language is one of those complicated things that everyone has, everyone knows, and everyone gets wrong.
Language is how we communicate—both verbally and non-verbally. Body language is communication. Words are communication. Tone is communication. Even silence is communication.
If languages are not properly identified and interpreted, the result is miscommunication. We’ve all experienced it before. We said one thing, but the person we said it to heard it another way. So they move forward with an understanding we never intended to convey. It’s really annoying! All the more reason for us to ensure we are absolutely clear when we communicate with others and why we should seek clarification when we’re not certain we understand the other party.
Now, please don’t be one of those people who is an expert on love languages and has never taken the test, read the descriptions, or never read a single one of Gary Chapman’s books. Don’t be that person. Stop it. Get some help.
Here’s Help: Visit the 5 Love Languages site to take the test and learn more about the love languages other’s speak.
The five languages are as follows:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
The fact of the matter is that these are actually God’s love languages and when He created us, He placed a part of Himself in us (Genesis 1:27). God doesn’t have just one love language. He is all of them, because He is love!
1 John 4:8 NIV | “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
People like to call 1 Corinthians 13 ‘the love chapter’, but it’s more about the Apostle Paul putting his foot on the Corinthian Church’s neck about operating in spiritual gifts and being mean spirited (I’ll have to write that one another time). 1 John 4 is the love chapter—starting around verse 7, through the end.
Words of Affirmation
God wants to be praised (He’s worthy of it).
Psalm 34:1-3 NLT | “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord ; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord ’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.”
Sounds like words to me…
Acts of Service
One of the ways we show God we love Him is by what we do for Him. The words minister and deacon literally mean “servant.” The first martyr of the Christian faith was named Stephen, which means “crowned servant.” In Psalm 100, the psalmist implores us to “Serve the Lord with gladness.” If you look, you will find that some translations say worship rather than serve. That’s because, contrary to common usage of the word, worship isn’t just the slow song before praise & worship is over.
Jesus said, in Matthew 25, that the acts of service we perform for those who need it most are actually acts of service for Him…via proxy.
This is not the part where I tell you that God is going to make you rich. Statistically speaking, that will happen for very few of us. It’s not about paying tithes and offering either (though that would be relevant here as well). This is about the gifts we give to God. Well, He gives them first, through the Holy Spirit.
Every member of God’s family has at least one spiritual gift. We won’t all have the same gifts, but we’ve all got one (or more). We’re supposed to give those gifts back by making them useful for the whole Church family. Cause these gifts… they fa’ everybody!
1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT | “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”
We call quality time with God by different names: prayer time, quiet time, devotional time, personal study, private reading, etc… There isn’t a Bible verse that says “Spend ye therefore time with God.” There IS, however, the example of Jesus—who we see taking time away from others to spend with the Father. There are also several other scriptures that imply time spent with God. Here is a list of a few.
You’re right. We can’t physically touch God. We can fellowship with one another, though. When we can, we should do so in person; where we can shake hands, high five, give hugs, give a reassuring hand on the shoulder… Of course, right now, in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic, we’re limited to a very small circle of safe and clean people we can have physical contact with. We can still touch virtually!
Fellowship is just companionship. We can accompany each other, intentionally, online. Our acts of service can touch hearts too—especially now.
Love is Love
Whichever way God wired you to best give and receive love is still a manifestation of His love, even if it is different than someone else’s. God designed it that way. We need one another.
When we learn how God wants to be loved, we seek to love Him in those ways. When we learn the native love dialect of our friends, family, and other loved ones, we should learn to love them in their language too.
Keith Goosby II is the founding minister of NET Church. He has served in ministry for over 20 years, in various capacities–including music, social media management, teaching, preaching, consulting, and leadership. Keith’s first church experience as a child was a home church. Since then, he has attended and served at churches sizing from just a few to over 10,000–of various denominations and affiliations. As NET Church is being planted, Keith continues to serve at his Dallas home church, Golden Gate MBC, in Dallas, TX, under the leadership of Minister Vincent T. Parker. Keith is married and currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three sons.