Word of the Week: Loving God, Loving One Another- The 5 Love Languages, Part 4
Jeff Needleman, New Beginnings Church
Welcome to Part 4 of the Love Languages. Now, onto our next Love Languages: Acts of Service.
As I mentioned before, I use the 5 Love Languages in all my Pre-Marital and Marital counseling. Now Debra, a newlywed, just back from her honeymoon, frantically called me. She said, “Jeff, the honeymoon was terrific and we had a wonderfully romantic time. But, on our way back, he started using really foul language. Stuff I’d never heard before, horrible 4-letter words. You’ve got to help!”
I said that doesn’t sound like Michael… what 4-letter words did he use? Debra said “They’re too awful to repeat!” I replied that I’ve heard them all and some might even have escaped my lips once or twice. Still sobbing, the bride said, “He used words like dust, wash, iron and cook.” Well, obviously Acts of Service are not her Love Languages… but his!
Those who feel love through Acts of Service usually do things for others on a regular basis. So it’s easy to identify my wife’s secondary Love Language. As I mentioned last week, it’s Acts of Service. So how does Alice express her love to me? She cleans the house, cooks great meals, keeps the laundry done, and does all the 4-letter stuff for me.
Now in return I want to hug and kiss her, tussle her hair and stroke her sweet face. And then tell her she’s awesome, great, wonderful, exceptional, outstanding, special, extraordinary, and any other word my Thesaurus can come up with! That’s because my Love Languages are Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation, but that’s a foreign language to her… it’s gibberish as far as she’s concerned.
But I’m speaking her language if we sit and chat in Quality Time or I simply make the bed, set up the ironing board and dry the dishes while she washes. Acts of Service ease the responsibilities and burdens of others! Acts of Service means doing things for others that need to be done.
Let’s watch! Please copy and paste the following link before you read further… it’s short, funny and worth watching as Everyone Loves Raymand teaches us about Acts of Service!
And at no extra charge, here’s another! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJDMS5V3M-A
Men-who knew all it took was a little hoovering instead of a little maneuvering! The sound of the vacuum proclaims “I Love You” louder than any words for those who feel love by Acts of Service.
We read in: 1Jn 3:18 NCV My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring. Anything we do that relieves the burdens and responsibilities that weigh on an Acts of Service receiver confirms our love and care for them. So, practice saying, “Anything you need done? What can I do for you? Or Let me do that for you”! and then… DO IT!
Now the greatest Acts of Service ever offered was by Jesus, who lifted our burden of sin. Let’s read:
Mt 20:28 NLT For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
And in: Jn 13:14-16 NIV Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
And in: Gal 5:13-14 NLT … use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Now we do have to pay attention to the no-nos to of this Love Language. Acts of Service people are always ready to help, but making demands and having expectations doesn’t enhance love, it guts it. As well, laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them cause Acts of Service people to feel neglected and resentful: the only message they hear is “You don’t really care about me”… because actions are louder than Words of Affirmation
Next- if you know me at all, you will have you noticed that I’m a touchy feely kinda guy. Without even thinking, I find myself naturally hugging, patting on the back, moving into close proximity to others, and squeezing shoulders, because that’s how I accept and express love. OK, onto Physical Touch, our last Love Language and one for which I have the greatest personal affinity!
Physical Touch is my primary way of feeling loved! and men- don’t confuse Physical Touch with the other type of personal intimacy! Please copy and paste the following link before you read further… it’s also a short but very telling video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfHw8HuIGqYandlist=UUrc3TN9SRO9SG5AQGfS3u-w
NOPE…! Houston we have failure to launch!
Now for me- when Alice rubs my back, puts her arm around my shoulder or touches my hand, I’m ecstatic! I feel loved by Alice’s meaningful touches, off the cuff hugs and kisses and other gentle acts of physical contact throughout the day. That’s because Physical Touch is a powerful connector and it can make or break a relationship.
Jesus connected with us through touch too! BTW, Jesus doesn’t mean vacuuming when he says clean in:
Mt 8:2-3 NLT “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”
Then in: Mt 14-15 NIV When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.
And in: Mk 10:16 NLT Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
And now, stay tuned for some critical data from the CNN Health web-site! It’s on the internet so it’s gotta be true!
”A squeeze of the hand, a bear hug, a massage or personal intimacy- touch is the ultimate mind-body medicine. From lowering BP and heart rate to increasing immune function and relieving pain, getting touched or doing some touching makes you healthier — not to mention happier and less anxious.”
Now this doesn’t sound like fake news- however it does confirm the healing power of touch that makes us happier, healthier and reduces stress. Healthy touch floods us with naturally occurring feel good hormones. Physical Touch energizes us and gives us emotional boosts.
One therapist claims that we need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance, and 12 for growth. And we know the importance of Physical Touch because of how the Bible emphasizes it and by how Satan has distorted it.
So those are the 5 Love Languages. Love makes the world go round because we’re created to be in a loving relationship with our creator and with each other! But love has always been complicated and difficult because we have different Love Languages… and we’re human!
In truly mature relationships, with God and with others, the Love Languages work both ways… we receive and accept love in our own Love Languages, but we must also express and offer love in the other’s person’s Love Languages. Many relational problems stem from the lack of understanding of the Love Languages that are foreign to us!
It’s like visiting a foreign country where you don’t speaka da language. Talk about frustrating! I remember visiting Mexico over 20+ years ago… We ended going to the same restaurant over and over again because our waiter spoke our language! Boy was Victor loved, especially by Jeremy with whom Victor spent QT entertaining him with magic. Victor was well tipped and well remembered! He spoke our language!
Children are pretty transparent in their Love Languages. If you find your child always cuddling with you, as a rule their Love Languages is Physical Touch. If they say “you’re the best, Daddy”, or look what I made, their Love Languages is typically Words of Affirmation. If your little girl wants to have tea with you or if your son wants to help fix the car their Love Languages is usually QT.
If your kid is always bringing you gifts or making cards for you, then??? (probably RG) and if they’re always eager to help with everything without being asked, then??? (most likely Acts of Service)
We’ll more readily identify the primary and secondary Love Languages of those who matter to us if we stop making it only about ourselves- if we strive to be other centered instead of self-centered- if we observe the regular and behaviors and conversations that make our loved ones, and us, light up and glow! If… and if all else fails… Ask them what they need!
And please remember, you’re not selfish for wanting your own needs met, so don’t get into the habit of ignoring your own emotional needs and requirements. Love is give and take! and DO NOT ever withhold expressions of love as punishment. Using the Love Languages negatively is the equivalent of saying: I hate you, or you don’t matter to me. Don’t do that! It damages relationships beyond belief
OK- last point! Not only do the 5 Love Languages apply to all our relationships, the Love Languages also align with the 5-fold purposes of the church that I’ve discussed in previous sermons. A healthy, growing, and vibrant body of believers put into practice each purpose: Worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism!
Our Words of Affirmation are found in our worship and our QT is spent in fellowship! We touch others in Discipleship and our Acts of Service is our ministry of caring for others. Evangelism is the Gift of letting others know about the eternal life and salvation available through Jesus Christ, and of God’s unending love for us!
Love God; Love Each Other. Remember, Jesus, God himself, didn’t have a problem showing or asking for love and modeling the 5LL. Let’s be like Jesus!
I close with the fact that it isn’t an easy task to come into emotional alignment with God or others relationally. A major tire company states that it is both dangerous and expensive to drive with flawed alignment because the gas mileage drops, tire life decreases, stress is added to the other mechanical components and overall structural damage can occur.
The article goes on to say that faulty alignment can cause blowouts, reduce the tire’s foothold, or cause the vehicle to drift or suddenly veer on a straight road- all of which can result in a fatal situation. When the wheels are in proper alignment, things hum along properly! The Love Languages helps bring us into a healthy alignment with God and with each other!
Finally, Gary Chapman says “There’s not much difference between being in love and being insane. Can I get an amen?
These last two messages have been in preparation for our upcoming 8-week class called the 7 Rings of Marriage that starts next Sunday. I urge all married, engaged, dating couples and those that plan to date to attend!
I assure you that our caring as expressed through the 5 Love Languages can be life transforming. They worked and continue to work for Alice and me. It takes time and effort to replace bad relational behaviors with loving habits and it takes practice to go from being emotionally and relationally retarded to being in alignment with God and those that matter to us! and if you’re not in alignment with God, if you’re not even in the car…. You can call on the HS of God, because He’s an expert mechanic!
Jeff Needleman, Lead Pastor
New Beginnings Church