A number of years ago Gary Chapman wrote a book all about love. In this book he said each person alive had at least one way they both show and express love, he referred to that as their love language. Since love speaks to each of us individually it made sense. It made a lot of sense to a lot of people.
As per my usual zany ways, I wasn’t really gung-ho to read the book. First of all, it wasn’t a novel and I was sure all non-fiction books were boring. And second of all, everyone else was reading it and oOoOoOoOoOhing and aAaAaAaAaAhing it to death. I’m too much of a non-conformist to readily want to read anything the whole world is raving about.
It took me a number of years to read it, in fact I only read it when we were out of town at a marriage retreat and a friend of ours shared that it had revolutionized his marriage. “We must get this book, Mr. Fullcup!” I exclaimed.
He agreed and so we did.
We read it out-loud together and tried to guess which languages each other spoke (him: Acts of Service, me: gifts and time). We took it on ourselves to meet those deep love needs and keep each others love-tanks full.
Yeah. That lasted about 3 days and then we were back to squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle, being late, and in general not doing anything to speak love to each other. We weren’t mean we just stopped focusing on this one area and lived life. We stopped asking if love tanks were full and what could be done to fill them.
We knew each of us was trying to meet the needs and so would say, “Yep! I’m good!” all the while choking on the sawdust in the bottom of the bucket. Now we don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t talk about it. We just choose, for whatever reason, not to think about it.
Jesus has recently been directing my thoughts back to the whole idea of Love languages. (If you’re not familiar with them, or would like a refresher, they are: Acts of Service, Touch, Gifts, Time, and Words of Affirmation.) And not in the way you might expect. Or want. Or be crazy about. Because as is my normal, it’s bound to make waves.
Love Languages – at first glance is a great book. But a deeper inspection reveals that it isn’t a Biblical book. The 5-Love Languages is a book that tells us we all have God-given ways we feel love and acceptance from others, and that we can only love from a full tank. So it is my responsibility to meet your love need in your love language and to teach you to meet mine in my language. It is your responsibility to soak up the love and meet my need for love from your full tank. (That I filled. All by my own big girl self.)
But only – it isn’t. When I do this, I am doing nothing more than using you to meet my needs, which makes you my god, because whoever or whatever I look to to meet my needs becomes my god, and that, my dearest reader, is nothing more than idolatry.
Jesus is the onliest only One I (and you) should be looking to for those needs. Man simply was not designed to meet them.
Yes, man does love, but not of their own ability. Both the love and the ability to love comes from Jesus. (Oh I’m going to get mail about that comment. But hear me out, in 1 John we read in a couple of places that God IS love. He personifies love and without Him there is no love. Lust, yes. Love, no.)
We are commanded to love one another, but not to meet their needs. Jesus meets them. Human love to and from us is just the frosting on the cupcake of life. Freely and lavishly given from a heart that is fully loved and free. The loved heart – the one who knows it is loved by Jesus (that need it met) can freely and without strings love another and it just happens. We can’t help it. Jesus loves because He IS Love personified.
We each are hardwired by God to need love, it is what drives us and drives us to Him. He meets each of these heart needs with Himself. What greater act of service is there than the cross? What greater gift than grace? Or the death of His Own Son? What could be better than walking on earth for 33 years with us? What could be better than the time He spends with each of us each time we call on His name? What greater words could He say to affirm us than, “I have called you friends”? What could possibly be better than having the God who created everything and hung the stars in place, speaks to and touches your heart in a million different ways?
He is so intimate with each of us. Meeting our every need. Meeting our greatest need with Himself.