John 15: 7-13 (NIV)
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
The word of God can often be made complicated. The Jews did it. God gave them 10 commands and they turned them into thousands of laws. So Jesus came to show us how easy it was and we turned it into religion. The word “Christian” simply means to be “Christ-like.” When we call ourselves Christian, we are saying we are like Christ. So what does it mean to be like Christ? Does it mean we have to raise people from the dead? Feed 5,000 people with fish and bread? Heal lepers? What does it mean to be Christ? To simplify all of these miracle, I would say to be like Christ is to love. As we read in scripture “12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” But how do we know how love like Christ?
A number of years ago there was a popular book in the states called The 5 Love Languages. The book talks about how a people show and receive love. It has been translated into over 50 languages and has had a profound affect on marriages and relationships in general. The theory of the book is that people show and receive love in 5 different ways or “languages.”
The 5 languages are:
1. Words of Affirmation- using words to affirm a person
2. Quality Time- giving someone your undivided attention
3. Gifts- giving gifts as a product of your thoughts
4. Acts of Service- doing something you know the other person would like to have done
5. Physical Touch- hugs, kisses, high fives, holding a hand
Most of you have probably already figured out what your love language is just by hearing them. If not, answer these questions:
1. How do I most often express love to other people?
2. What do I complain about most often in relationships?
3. What do I request most often in relationships?
The theory is that you respond to one of these languages more profoundly than the others. This language is used in all of your relationships including friends, parent/child, work, and marriage.
The problem comes when the people around you do not speak your language. It is like speaking German to someone that only knows Spanish. They will never understand your actions or feel loved by you. In marriages, if a husband’s language is acts of service and a wife’s is quality time. The husband will be fixing the house while the wife feels unloved because the husband never spends time with her. We must learn to speak each other’s language to “feel” loved.
The same author wrote a less popular version of the book that came out a few years ago. It is called God Speaks Your Love Language, which applies the same 5 languages of love to our spiritual lives. The theory states that we feel closest to God through our love language. For most of us, our love language with humans is the same language we relate to God. Our spiritual love language is how we “feel” closest to God and how we “share” God’s love with others.
1. Words of Affirmation- preaching- Biblical example: King David through the Psalms
2. Quality Time- reading scripture, praying, quiet time with God- Biblical example: Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus (while Martha took care of the house)
3. Gifts- donations, gift to others- Biblical example:For God so loved the world He gave His son. John 3:16. Gifts are never given because we deserve them. They are given out of love.
4. Acts of Service- serving people- Biblical example:Martha in the kitchen
5. Physical Touch- being in the presence of the Holy Spirit- Biblical example: Jesus washing disciples’ feet
If you are unsure what your spiritual love language is, answer these three questions:
1. How do I most often express my love to God?
2. What do I most often complain to God about?
3. What do I request of God most often?
If you are still unsure what your spiritual love language is, listen to these stories:
Many people ask me, how can you be a missionary? Isn’t it a lot of work? Don’t you miss your family and friends? And in the end, they usually conclude that I’m crazy. And they are right. I’m crazy in love with God. For me, mission work is not work. It is my love language. I feel closest to God through acts of service. For me, I have never been able to say long beautiful prayers or spend hours reading the Bible. To me, that is work. Don’t get me wrong, I do it, because I know it is important but I do not always “feel” God’s love through those actions. Why? Because that is not my language. I feel closest to God when I help others.
Let me give you another example. There is a woman named Natalie who goes to my parents’ church. Before I met her, my mom told me Natalie’s story. My parents met Natalie and her 4 children through a program that helps homeless families. Natalie is Haitian and her papers to live in the states had expired so few places would allow her to rent a house and work was very difficult to find. Through this program, my parents’ church helped provide Natalie and her family a house. After just moving the house after being homeless, I met Natalie for the first time. I was presenting to the church about the various projects here I was working on. After the presentation, she came up and handed me $100. I was completely surprised because I knew her story. I knew she had no money. In January of this year, the program helping Natalie closed due to lack of financial income and she was forced to move out of the house at the church. My parents’ church was able to help her find a place to live and she now works for a family caring for an older person. Her job is enough to cover her bills but not much more. The second time I met Natalie, she brought me a huge bag of toothpaste, shampoo, soap, medicine, and other items she had around her house. She knew I was returning here and thought I could use some items. The last time I was at the church, I presented again on the various projects for which we are raising money. Natalie became very interested in a walkway we want to build in Cuesta Arena. This past week, my mom informed me that she handed my mom $450 in cash, the exact amount we needed to complete the project. It is clear Natalie’s love language is gifts. She feels closest to God by giving gifts. She has nothing and yet she gives because she loves God and she feels God’s love for her when she gives gifts.
John 14:12-23 (NIV)
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Jesus made clear distinctions between religiously motivated love and divinely motivated love. Those who have felt the love of God will never be satisfied with merely loving those who love them in return or because the church tells them to do so.
This degree of love only comes from experiencing first hand the love of God. It is what I like to call a crazy love. It is a love so crazy it can only come from those who are Christ like. Crazy love should be a distinguishing mark of Christians. Crazy love is our response to God’s love for us.
How does God draw us to Him? Most likely, that will be the love language we most naturally use to express our love to God. God is crazy in love with us. All we can do is receive His love and respond through our actions to what He has already done.
So this morning I ask you, Are you crazy? Do you love God in a way that makes your neighbor say: He is crazy for helping those people. She is crazy for giving money when she has nothing. They are crazy for taking their vacation and paying so much to travel to help people. That family is crazy for paying for their whole family to travel into the city and go to church ALL morning.
The world can not see God, they can only see our reaction to our encounter with God. I pray this morning, that our communities see our response to God’s love for us in such a way that they want to know why we are acting crazy. The message this morning is this: Be crazy in love with God because He is crazy in love with you! Find your love language and listen to your neighbors see how crazy you can be!