God loves you and wants you to love Him in return. But just how should you go about doing so? Tune in to uncover the answer.
You go to church, you sing hymns, you consider yourself a good Christian. But something's missing, you're not sure what it is. Have you ever asked yourself, what is it God really wants from me. You've probably assumed you know what God wants, love your neighbor, go to church, don't cheat on your spouse. Actually God wants a lot more. Do you know what it is? Join us on Beyond Today as we explore God's love language.
Let me share with you an interesting story. A French entomologist, that's a person who studies bugs, conducted an experiment with a kind of caterpillar. These particular caterpillars instinctively follow each other in a line. He was fascinated by the fact that they would march at the same pace in mindless procession. So the scientist took a flower pot and lined up these caterpillars, nose to tail, around the rim and in the center of the flower pot he placed plenty of delectable caterpillar food. The caterpillars immediately began a slow cadence march around the rim. Hours and days went by but the bugs each deliberately following the one in front, who was following the one in front who was following the one in front, you get the idea. One by one the caterpillars died of exhaustion and starvation until they all died, even though food was just a few inches away.
Now here's today's challenge for you, does this story describe your spiritual life?
Are you habitually attending church, mindlessly singing hymns, thinking that you are doing what God really wants, but missing out on a dynamic relationship with your Creator, your God?
On Beyond Today we want to tell you about a better way, a way of developing a powerful, meaningful relationship with God.
The discovery of that better way begins with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
A Jewish lawyer came to Jesus and asked which is the great commandment and the law? Now this lawyer was a religious man, he studied the Hebrew scriptures, what we call the Old Testament. These lawyers had identified 613 specific laws in the law of Moses. Laws covering everything from murder to marriage to how to dig a latrine. Now naturally it was important to determine how to prioritize these laws. This lawyer asked Jesus an interesting question didn't he?
What is the most important principle in the Bible? How would you answer that question? Would you say that the most important biblical teaching is to accept everyone's religion as different paths to God? Is it to treat other people with kindness? Is it to take care of the environment?
Now remember whatever you say is the most important moral principle, it means this principle guides all other moral principles.
Here's how Jesus answered it. He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your all your soul, with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
If you are like many people you've been taught that the greatest teaching of Jesus Christ is to love your neighbor as yourself. But He said that the greatest moral principle, the principle that forms the foundation of all other moral principles is to love God.
It is possible to love your neighbor and not love God. It is not possible to love God and hate your neighbor.
Now if you're a serious believer, a person who believes in the God of the Bible, that what Jesus Christ says here is of paramount importance to you, you can help your neighbor, be nice to people, volunteer to serve the poor BUT do you actually love God?
Jesus Christ said that this is the most important principle in the entire Bible.
So now you're confronted with a question. Am I supposed to love God? Is loving God an emotional expression of praise? Is loving God simply a matter of obedience?
A loving God involves all of these actions and more. Can a human being even know how the Creator of the universe wants to be loved? Have you ever even asked yourself, how does God want to be loved?
Think about it for a minute, it's selfish to want God's love, God's mercy, God's kindness and not want to respond to Him in love.
Marriage counselors talk about human love languages. A love language is the method of explaining the different ways people experience feeling love. Now if a person's love language is primarily verbal then that person desires others to express love through encouraging words.
Does God have a love language?
I mean if according the Jesus Christ the most important principle in the entire Bible is to love God with all your heart, soul, the real question we need to ask is, how does God say He wants to be loved? I mean where would you even start to find God's love language?
In the course of human history there is only one time when God was visibly present to millions of people. Over 3,400 years ago in a tumultuous cloud with thunder and lightening, the Being who said, "Let there be light", and the sun was fashioned, the Creator who formed the brilliant design of a dolphin and the delicate design of a butterfly. He appeared on Mt. Sinai and thundered out the ten basic principles of moral actions and moral thinking. We call them the Ten Commandments.
Most people believe that the Ten Commandments make up the moral code of Christianity, in reality a number of the Ten Commandments are either unknown or downright rejected by most Christians. And you know this is a great moral tragedy. By rejecting some of the Ten Commandments many Christians have a form of worship but the activities, these activities have little to do with the love language of the God they worship.
Now at this point some of you are saying, now wait a minute, I know the commandments and I try to obey them, honor your parents, don't murder, don't commit adultery, I don't steal, I don't lie, I don't covet other peoples possessions, that's six of the ten. These are the commandments that help define Jesus' instructions on how to love your neighbor.
Jesus said that these commandments begin to define the second great moral priority, how to love your neighbor. But what about Christ's first great moral priority, the priority to love God?
The instructions on how to love God are contained in the first four of the Ten Commandments. These commandments help us understand God's love language.
If you want a meaningful, personal relationship with God then you must learn to respond to God in the ways that are meaningful to Him. Do you even know what are the first four of the Ten Commandments?
Well we are going to briefly look at these commandments and help you take your first steps in discovering God's love language.
The first of the Ten Commandments is a simple concept, you shall have no other gods before me, that's what God says. What I'm about to say is going to sound shocking in our post modern, post Christian, politically correct, everybody's ideas are equal society. True Christianity is about loving the only true God and rejecting other gods. The God of the Bible is an exclusive God, in fact He claims that the gods of ancient paganism don't even really exist.
To love God with all your heart, soul and mind, you have to reject the idea that all religions are just the same path or different paths to the same God.
I know that isn't very democratic but it is what the Creator of the universe requires from you. To love God with all your heart, soul and mind, you have to make your relationship to Him the center of your life. Interestingly enough it's the next three of the Ten Commandments that explain how to begin to make God the center of your life.
Now before we explore those important principles, the next three commandments, I want to tell you how to get your copy of this incredible booklet, The Ten Commandments. On Beyond Today we offer this booklet as a free educational service in the public interest. And The Ten Commandments you will read how the first four of the commandments can help you to begin to discover God's love language. It will help you understand your greatest priority in life, how to change your life from a phantom to praise and reap the wonderful blessing of the seventh day Sabbath. This booklet will help you incorporate all ten of God's great moral principles into your daily life. This booklet not only helps you understand the Ten Commandments but you will learn how to apply these moral principles and understand the moral principles behind the Ten Commandments. Go online to BeyondToday.tv and read The Ten Commandments or you can get a copy for yourself sent directly to your home, just call toll free 1-888-886-8632 that's 1-888-886-8632 and you can follow Beyond Today on Twitter and join us on Facebook.
Jesus said that the most important moral principle, the basis of all other moral principles is to love God.
In the first four of the Ten Commandments we begin to discover God's love language, how He wishes to be loved by His children.
The first of the commandments simply states that we must reject all other concepts of gods and goddesses, mother earth, the new age idea that somehow all of us are our own god and accept a Creator God as our Father. We can't mingle all of these religious ideas together. All religions are not different paths to the same god. The only god is an exclusive God. The first commandment tells us to center our lives on the Creator.
The next three show us how to begin to make God the center of our lives, the center of your life.
The second states, "You shall not make for yourselves any carved image". Many Christians claim to obey the Ten Commandments but how many churches are filled with statues and images? Worshippers bow down in front of those images in a form of worship. God says that loving Him means that we don't use images in our worship of Him.
A personal relationship with God frees us from the need to have images. So why is it that human beings need pictures and statues of God in order to feel connected to Him.
Well one reason why human beings need images in worship is because we confuse faith with superstition. We want to be able to somehow connect to God, have Him fulfill all of our needs but we don't want to seek His will. In other words we want God to love us but we don't want to make the commitment to love Him.
In this way, love and faith, meaning trust in God, they're really two sides of the same coin. Let me illustrate what I mean.
The Nina was floundering in a storm, the panicked sailors began to pray for deliverance. They bargained with God that if they were saved one of them would make a pilgrimage to a shrine, a statue or image, they drew lots and Christopher Columbus was chosen. The storm raged on and the praying became frantic. In a last ditch effort the men decided that if they made it to land all of them would walk shirtless to the first shrine they found. They thought that if they prayed in front of an image God would be pleased.
Here in lies an important difference between faith and superstition. Superstition is when we believe that if we say the right words, do the proper ritual, pray in front of a shrine or an image then God is required to do as we ask. Faith is the assurance that God has your best interest in His heart.
When you trust God, you can love God. When you love God you are free from the images.
God wants you to come directly to Him in a personal relationship no matter the time or place without the need for shrines or images.
You know another reason human beings need an image to worship God is that we need to bring God down to our level. We begin to frame our love toward God by our own needs and desires.
You know when you study the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece or Rome you find beings that are reflections of human shortcomings and limitations. They can be cruel, fickle, mean spirited and there was no real concept of good and evil. People tried to appease the gods and get what they wanted.
Ok, well here's what you need to do, get on your knees and ask the real God to help you begin to understand Him as Creator, Father and Judge.
He is the Being that spread out the stars, whose wonders are around us everyday, who formed you while you were in your mothers womb. Discover the true God, enter into a relationship with Him and you'll be free from the need of images in worship.
The third commandment that helps us understand God's love language is, you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. It is absolutely amazing how careless Christians can be in this area. People use God's name to damn this or that, we proclaim, "Oh God" every time we're angry or every time something bad happens. I mean if someone used your name all the time in the most despicable way and then one day a week sang praises to you, would you believe that person actually meant those praises?
This is a serious question, I want you to think about it, if you are serious about your relationship with God. If someone used your name all the time in the most despicable way and then one day a week sang praises to you would you believe that person actually meant those praises? Of course you wouldn't. And yet, isn't this how so many of us treat God?
People claim that they love God but they treat God in ways they would never treat their own friends. It's time to start cleaning up your words. It's time to start loving God by not using His name in vain.
Now the fourth description of God's love language has to do with the time you spend with God.
We live in a time pressed world and technology is supposed to make our lives easier, create more leisure time so we purchase microwaves, home computers and riding lawn mowers in order to have more control over our lives. Then of course we have to work overtime in order to pay for the time saving gadgets.
We rush through work, rush through meals, rush through conversations. We tear off to a health club to ride a stationary bike. On the weekends we rush through church services so we can hustle home and spend a few hours relaxing in front of the television only to feel vaguely bored and restless. Time stress affects health, peace of mind and relationships. We never seem to get everything done. Are you like so many people that are rushing themselves into high blood pressure, chronic tiredness, emotional burnout and spiritual bankruptcy?
The fourth commandment says remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, six days you shall labor and do all your work but on the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.
You need physical, emotional and you need spiritual rest. To ignore these needs is to sow the seeds of illness, depression and damaged relationships.
Imagine a day, devoted to rest, no business calls, no painting the house, imagine a day for extra time for prayer and worship. That's your personal relationship with God. Imagine an extra day to share time with your family, no deadlines, no pressing appointments. Imagine a day when you can shut out all of the noise and preoccupation with making money.
The seventh day Sabbath is a time to renew your relationship with God and experience rest for your body and mind and your spirit. A concept of the biblical Sabbath is not a ritualistic obligation to participate in a once a week hour of worship but it is a day dedicated to revitalizing your relationship with God in both private and communal worship. The Sabbath is to be a time of physical, emotional and spiritual renewal.
So now you can just begin, we're just scratching the surface, you can begin to understand God's love language. He wants us to reject all religious ideas that don't proclaim Him as the only true God. He wants us to remove images as a means of worship instead He wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants us to stop using His name in vain and He wants us to celebrate every seventh day as a special day of worship, physical and emotional and spiritual renewal.
Now we're going to discuss these four aspects of God's love language and how you can apply them to your life with our Beyond Today panel. But first I want to remind you of how to get your free copy of our booklet, The Ten Commandments. We will also send you a free subscription to the Good News magazine. Now if you're looking for answers to life's most important questions this magazine is for you. The Good News is a bi-monthly publication available at no cost and in every issue you'll find articles and subjects like marriage and family, what the Bible teaches about the most vital questions in your life, how to make sense of today's confusing world news and God's amazing plan for humanity and for you personally and how you can learn about God's love language. Go online to BeyondToday.tv to read the Good News or order your free subscription or we'll send it right to your house. You can call toll free 1-888-886-8632 that's 1-888-886-8632 and you can follow Beyond Today on Twitter and join us on Facebook.
We've been joined by fellow Beyond Today hosts, Steve Myers and Darris McNeely, to discuss this concept of God's love language. How would describe even this idea of God's love language.
Well Gary, I think when you look at the statement that says we are to love God with all of our heart and mind and our being, to love God in that way means to go along a prescribed path by design, the design God has for the relationship that He wants with us and it has very strict settings.
Yeah and maybe that's a good word, this word relationship, that God wants a relationship with us, He's not just somewhere off in the universe that we can't have a personal relationship with Him. So when you talk about a love language it's how we relate and God wants to be related to, He wants to be loved, He wants to be worshipped and He wants us to have that close relationship with us.
So when we look at the Ten Commandments the first four tell us how to begin to have this relationship with God. So let's look at the first one, you shall have no other God's before me. How can we put that principle into actual action?
I think it is best done by putting away anything that comes between us and a relationship with God. Today we don't like the word idolatry we relate that perhaps to something in the ancient world where people bowed down before an idol, a stone or wooden idol and we're too modern for that. We don't have idols today but the reality is we do. We worship the self, we worship status, we worship money, we worship celebrity, we worship things and when we do that we're committing idolatry. Anything then that becomes a barrier between us and God the Creator inhibits our relationship with Him and our ability to love Him as He wants us to love Him to understand the fullness of His purpose.
Yeah, that's a good point because it really comes down to priority, what's important for us? And the way we spend our money, what we use if for, the things we buy, all of that then can become that idol if we're not careful. So what's most important, what do we center our life on, what is most important to you?
You talk about what's important, the next commandment says you shall make of yourselves no graven images. Why is that important to God that He would say that?
Because God is spirit, God is invisible, God cannot be seen by the naked eye, the physical eye, He is not physical and anytime we take something that is physical, part of the physical world created by God and then impose that as God in some way to try to create an image in our minds eye of what God is like, we're going to ultimately look to that more than we are to God as He intends in His spiritual realm because then we will become worshipping the Creation rather than the Creator.
Boy that's a great point because when you look at who makes the images well we make an image are we following what the Bible says? God says don't make any images. So I wonder when you go to church are there images in your congregation? When you look around the building do you see little icons? Do you see images that do not represent what God says? Is that right?
Now this brings us to that third point of God's love language, is that you shouldn't take the name of the Lord your God in vain. I'm amazed at how many Christians absolutely ignore this.
Yeah the commandment to not take God's name in vain is more than just using God's name in an expletive, in a curse although that's wrong and certainly should not be a part of our language. But the reality is if you call yourself a Christian and don't obey the teachings of the commandments and the way of life set by Jesus Christ, then you are taking the name of God, Jesus Christ in vain by not living up to the standards, the principles by which God defines that relationship. It's been said by so many people that so many fail to live up to that Christian standard and the plain and simple teachings of the Bible by Jesus Christ's own words and therefore fail the test of Christianity.
That's an incredibly powerful statement to claim to be a Christian and not be a Christian is to take God's name in vain.
Absolutely. Sometimes we forget to put it on it's simplest terms. I mean I don't like to be called names. Who likes, I don't want my name used uselessly in vain so why would we ever think of using the Creator's name in vain?
It's disrespectful, incredibly disrespectful. Now that brings us to fourth commandment, remember the Sabbath day. Why is that so many people either just ignore this or even deny this commandment which actually describes one of God's love languages? I mean a day to spend with our Creator.
Did you ever hear of the phrase time is money? We think that we own time. God says that He owns time, He gives us the six days of time to live our lives by and He says that one is my time. Come to me, worship me, love me on that day on that time but we don't want to do that because we think we own all time. We've become gods in our own image and as a result we cannot even wrap our minds around the concept that God claims 24 hours out of every week as His time and upon which we are to worship Him.
Yeah sometimes we don't think about the fact that we show who our God is by how we worship and when we worship and God says worship on the Sabbath, the Saturday Sabbath. And so are we showing that Creator God is our God by following what He said?
And when you worship God on the Sabbath and you have a right relationship with Him, I guarantee it's going to help you worship Him the other six days. Because what you do on that day and that relationship effects the other six days.
Now don't forget our free offers on today's program, The Ten Commandments booklet. And when you order The Ten Commandments we'll send you a one year subscription to the Good News magazine. Go online to BeyondToday.tv to order your free subscription or you can read it right there online or call toll free 1-888-886-8632. Now write this down 1-888-886-8632 and of course you follow us here on Beyond Today on Twitter and join us on Facebook.
The Creator of the universe has given you life. He loves you so much that He sacrificed His Son for your sins. Jesus Christ is returning to gather God's children, those who love God. God wants a personal relationship with you but a relationship is a two way street. God has shown you His love. How do you love God? Remember the four aspects of God's love language. Keep Him first in your life, worship Him in spirit and in truth not with images and idols. Be careful not to use His name in vain and delight in the day that He has set apart to spend special time with you. Join us next week as we help you discover God's way. Thanks for watching.