Jesus loves us, and when He died on the cross He laid down His life for us, by dying in our place so that we could live free.
The thing is, He now asks us to lay down our lives too. Not necessarily in having to die for another person, but to lay down our lives in a different way. He asks us to show our love towards others, not by dying for them but by living for them.
To do that means having an attitude we are going to live to love others, and not just ourselves. Love puts others first, it’s patient, and goes the extra mile; it gives and blesses, and looks for the best in people.
There was a book written a few years ago called the “Five love languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. Not everyone receives or gives love in the same way, and if we don’t understand ourselves, or each other it is very easy for us, and those we are trying to love to actually feel unloved through simply lack of understanding.
Everybody generally has his or her own primary love languages for receiving love and giving love. If a husband for instance does not meet the primary love language of his wife, she might not sense his true feelings and starts to be unsatisfied with their relationship because she feels unloved, resulting in issues arising in their relationship.
It’s like we all have a “Love Tank”, much like a petrol tank in a car. Our lives run best when our “Love Tank” is filled and constantly being topped up. The alternative is to allow our tanks to run empty and dry and eventually burn out and stop.
Even the best relationships take work to make them stay vibrant and whole. If we neglect or take them for granted it doesn’t take long for people to feel depleted and neglected.
Far to often we can make the mistake of supposing we don’t need to tell, show or express consistently our love for those people around us. But Jesus wants us to live the love life. Our spouse, partner, children, friends and those we meet everyday all need to see and feel demonstrations of our love, and we need to feel loved too.
Here are five love languages which people usually give and receive love through. It’s helpful to understand how we feel loved so we can communicate that to others, and also to listen and learn others language. In our family our children are all different and what causes one child’s “love tank” to be filled up, doesn’t’ necessarily fill another’s. Likewise my husband is the complete opposite from me, and it takes effort and ingenuity to give love that can be received.
Once you start to understand people’s love language it becomes easier to fill people’s love tanks and to live the love life.
Here are the five love languages to help you give and receive love more effectively and honestly.
1.Words of Affirmation
“If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when people are open and expressive in telling you how wonderful they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc.
2.Acts of Service
“It’s when people offer to watch the kids so you can go to the gym, or relieve you of some other task to help you. If this gets your heart going, then this is your love language.
“This love language is just as it sounds. A warm hug, a kiss, touch, and intimacy make you feel most loved when this is your love language.”
“This love language is about being together, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial.”
“When people take the time to give you a gift, making you feel appreciated.”
It takes effort and motivation to live the love life, but when we lay down our life to love we allow our lives be guided by God’s love in us.
Today check out how full your own love tank is. If it feels empty ask God to fill it, and then communicate to those close to you how you feel. Sometimes people just don’t know, that what they presume is expressing love isn’t working for you. Then take the time to watch and listen, to fill other’s “love tanks” too.
Jesus said when we lay down our own lives, and take up the love life we will in fact find the ultimate life. Choose to take up the love life today.
“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:1-7;13).