In his book The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman identified five ways in which love is expressed in marriage: words of affirmation, quality time, thoughtful gifts, acts of service, physical touch. We want to be fluent in all five of these languages in our most important relationships, as well as in our love for the bride of Christ:
Do we speak well of the church, or do we embody a critical spirit? Do we take time to express appreciation to our church’s leaders and faithful volunteers? The church is Christ’s bride. How does Christ feel about the way we speak of His bride?
What are the values driving our schedules (and those of our children)? What is the fruit that will come of that schedule? Does it allow quality time for the church we love, or does church get our leftovers?
We’ve all heard it said: Our finances reveal what we cherish. Are we generous financial givers to the church, and do we invest our talents in its mission?
When we love someone, we delight in doing what we can to help that person grow and flourish. Are we delighting in opportunities to serve our local gathering of believers?
Are we tempted to live on the edge of the community of God’s people, or are we touching others by our prayers and our consistent presence?
When it comes to the church, are we speaking God’s love languages?
Adapted from Chapter 10 of Ekklesia, by Tom Nelson, and from Colin Smith’s July 2011 sermon, “The Bride: Christ’s love for the church.” To access Colin’s sermon in writing, or via audio or video, visit www.UnlockingtheBible.org.
Tom Nelson is senior pastor of Christ Community Church (EFCA) in Leawood, Kan., and Colin Smith is senior pastor of The Orchard (EFC) in Arlington Heights, Ill.