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UCG IA Bible Insights Thursday, June 30 2022

God’s love language

A love language describes how we relate to others and how others want to be related to, but how does God want us to relate to Him? The Bible is clear we should seek to have a close relationship with our Creator, so does God have a love language?

by Darris McNeely, Steve Myers & Gary Petty

It is possible to habitually attend church, but still be missing out on a dynamic relationship with God. The teachings of Jesus Christ show us the most important principle in the Bible. It’s not to accept everyone's religion as different paths to God, to treat other people with kindness, or even to take care of the environment.

When the Jewish lawyer, who was thoroughly acquainted with the Hebrew scriptures, came to Jesus and asked which is the great commandment Jesus gave a surprising answer. 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" (Matthew 22:37-39).

You may have been taught the greatest teaching of Jesus Christ is to love your neighbor as yourself. But Christ tells us the greatest moral principle, forming the foundation of all other moral principles, is to love God. It is possible to love your neighbor and not love God, but it is not possible to love God and hate your neighbor. We can help our neighbors, be nice to people and even volunteer to serve the poor, but do we understand how God tells us we are to love Him?

In the course of human history there is only one time when God was visibly present to millions of people. That was when He appeared on Mt. Sinai and thundered out the Ten Commandments. Most people believe these Ten Commandments make up the moral code of Christianity, but in reality a number of these commandments are ignored by most Christians.

The instructions telling us how to love God are contained in the first four Ten Commandments. If we want a meaningful, personal relationship with God then we should learn to respond to God in the ways that are meaningful to Him. These are the commandments that help us understand how to do this. They are, if you like, God's love language.

The First Commandment: "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:2-3).

The first of the Ten Commandments is a simple concept, we cannot put other so-called gods before the true God, the Creator of the universe. If we only relate idolatry to something in the ancient world when people bowed down before an idol, a stone or wooden idol we are unlikely to realize we also have idols today. We can worship the self, status, money, celebrity etc.

Anything that becomes a barrier between us and God, the Creator, inhibits our relationship with Him and our ability to love Him and understand His purpose for us. It really comes down to our priorities. In order to love God with all our heart we have to make our relationship with Him the center of our life. The next three commandments explain how to do this.

The Second Commandment: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them" (Exodus 20:4-5).

Although the second commandment tells us not to worship images, many who claim to obey the Ten Commandments frequent churches filled with statues and images and worshippers even bow down in front of these images in a form of worship. God is not physical and when we take something physical and try to create an image of what God is like, we are ultimately going to look to that more than we are to God.

The Third Commandment: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain" (Exodus 20:7).

People frequently use God's name to damn this or that, or proclaim, "Oh God" every time they are angry or something bad happens. We cannot claim we love God and then treat Him in ways we would never treat our own friends. Loving God involves treating His name with respect and reverence and not using it carelessly or disrespectfully.

This commandment also covers other ways of disrespecting God's name. If we call ourselves Christian and don't follow the commandments and the example of Jesus Christ, then we are also taking the name of God in vain. To claim to be a Christian and not live according to God’s standards is to take His name in vain.

The Fourth Commandment: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8-11).

The fourth commandment describing God's love language has to do with the time we spend with God. He knows we need physical, emotional and spiritual rest, and has provided us with a day devoted to rest and extra time for prayer and worship. The Sabbath is a time of physical, emotional and spiritual renewal.

So, to summarize, God's love language involves rejecting all religious ideas that don't proclaim Him as the only true God. He wants us to remove images as a means of worship, to stop using His name in vain, and to celebrate every seventh day as a special time of worship, providing us with physical, emotional and spiritual renewal. To love God in this way abides by the guidelines God has laid out in the Ten Commandments to establish a loving relationship with our Creator.

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