Monday, February 20, 2006

God’s Love Languages

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a sermon entitled Stripped of Dragonish Ways. In the sermon, I said that responding to Jesus out of faith is the only way God will redeem us. In the sermon, I concluded by saying that God wants us to stop trying to control our circumstances and give our situations to Him. After the service was over, a lady came up to me who was visiting the worship service for the first time. She asked me a very profound question: What do you do step by step to give something over to God? I have to admit, I stumbled through my answer with her.

I have spent the last week and a half thinking about this question. My thoughts have been somewhat scattered, but I have sort of come to an answer. I have to admit that my answer does not involve a three step program for giving things over to God. Instead, my thinking has led me to this conclusion: The more you keep your focus on God throughout your daily life, the easier it is to give your struggles to him. Let me explain. As I have been thinking thru my own experiences, I have noticed that when I have something in my life that I am struggling with the best way for me to give that to God is to not think about the thing itself. For me, when I am spending time reading the Bible and praying, the issue or issues that I am dealing with tend to become non issues.

This leads me to think that the best way to give up control of my own life and to give control over to God is to put things in my life that keep me focused on God. As a Methodist, we call these things “means of grace.” “Means of grace” are the disciplines in our lives that remind us or help us experience God’s grace in our lives. John Wesley believed that the primary means of grace where prayer, studying and meditation on the Bible, the Lord’s Supper, and worship. He also felt that acts of service where important. Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline is also a great resource.

I am a huge fan of the book The Five Love Languages. I think every couple should read this book. The principle behind the book is that people have different ways they experience and give love. A successful relationship happens when each person understands the love language of their spouse and shows them love through their love language. I believe our relationship with God is very similar. God expresses his love and grace thru different means and when we place those means in our lives, we are constantly reminded of God’s love and grace.

The key to giving our lives over to God comes when we think as little about ourselves and our situation as possible and spend our time immersed in the “means of grace” which helps us experience God’s grace. Understand that I am not suggesting that the “means of grace” will give us salvation. They are what it says, the means to an end. The end being a relationship with God thru faith in Jesus. They help us give our lives over to God.

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