We have a saying in our house, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
It’s sad but true.
Maybe because we seem to reflect what surrounds us- feeding off of the energies of our environment and responding in kind; all it takes is a sour disposition or a cloudy day to rain on our parade.
Ever hear the statement, “God is love?”
1 John 4:7-9 tells us --
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”
Ok, if God is love and we tend to reflect what surrounds us… how do the two go together and how can we radiate more love in our lives?
First, I would argue that you need to have some knowledge of God or at the very least start contemplating what it means that God is the very essence of love. A great place to look is at the life of Jesus as He is an important piece of the Triune-God. The Bible also tells us that we were “made in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27); therefore, we must have some love characteristics that mirror God.
Second, I would urge you to explore the writings of Gary Chapman. Chapman wrote a fascinating book called The Five Love Languages that uncovers the concept that every person was created with a dominant “love language.” This love language reflects the person’s primary communication method for showing and interpreting love.
Chapman contends there are five main love language categories:
1. Words of affirmation- Presenting love with your words. Providing not only words of love, but also words of praise and encouragement.
2. Physical touch- Showing love through physical affection and touch.
3. Acts of service- Displaying love by doing practical things for others.
4. Giving gifts- Demonstrating love by giving gifts or tokens of appreciation.
5. Quality time- Exhibiting love by spending meaningful time together.
Interestingly, if you explore the life of Jesus, you will see that He exhibited ALL five love languages during His lifetime--
Jesus expressed words of affirmation by speaking love for His people. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love” (John 15:9)
Jesus showed love through physical touch by healing and also embracing and welcoming the little children to come to Him.
Jesus performed numerous acts of service by healing the sick, teaching the masses and even washing His disciples’ feet.
Jesus gave gifts of healing, comfort, resurrection and ultimately the gift of eternal life.
Jesus spent quality time with those He loved by devoting tireless hours to mentoring His disciples. Not to mention, time spent sharing intimate meals and celebrations with those that were considered outcasts.
Here’s the rub… we aren't love, and we aren't Christ.
Consequently, it takes considerable effort for us even to understand love let alone express it adequately.
Don’t lose heart; we can be a reflection of love when we spend time surrounded by God's goodness and pursuing the discovery of not only our unique love language but the love language of others. When we appreciate the complexities of love and choose to love others in ways that may not come naturally to us, we begin to mirror God’s extravagant love.
Oscar Wilde said it best- “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
May we all learn to imitate and reflect the greatness of God’s love, and in doing so, the world becomes a better place!
Love does make the world go round.
If you’d like to discover your love language take this simple test at the link below.
Father, thank you for all that you are and all that you have done. For loving and cherishing us so well. Thank you for your sacrificial gift of Christ and the example of love that He set before the world. Christ provided the clearest picture of authentic love. May we bask in your love this day and be overwhelmed so that love naturally overflows to others.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16