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Learning To Say "I Love You"

Learning To Say "I Love You"
By Patie Kwik.

Leading verse, 1 John 3:18
When we read the words of Jesus, we sometimes find ourselves looking for loopholes. He made some hard statements. Probably one of the most difficult for us to follow is his command, "Love one another as I have loved you"(John 13:34). If he had just said, "Love one another," we could try to water it down. But the clause "as I have loved you" makes it absolutely clear what Jesus meant.
God takes love seriously. He loves us, and he expects us to love one another. I doubt if anyone who is a true Christian needs to be told of the importance of love. We are already convinced this is the lifestyle God wants for us. From cover to cover, the Bible teaches how important it is. Here are just a few of the verses in the Scriptures that call us to love one another:
Leviticus 19:18 'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Colossians 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
The reason the early church made such a difference in their world was because they loved one another. In fact, even their critics marveled at their love for one another.
How much you love is determined by how much you do. Biblical love is something you do. Therefore, you can only say, "I love you" by your actions.
1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but "in deed and in truth".
Contrary to this, our society teaches love is a feeling, it teaches that love is a mystical sensation that sweeps over you one day and may disappear the next. As long as you feel a certain way, you're in love. When the feeling goes away, you're not in love anymore. Of course, you can't be expected to act a certain way towards someone when you're not in love, can you? Commitment is required only as long as the feeling remains. That's because according to our society love is a feeling. The Bible teaches just the opposite. Love is not a feeling. It's an action. It's something you do.
How much you love is determined by how much you do because love is an action. So, how do we learn to love as Christ loved us? What does that involve?
A Jewish law expert came to Jesus and asked him how to inherit eternal life.(see luke 10:25-37) Jesus asked him what the law said. The man answered, "Love God with all your heart; love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus said "You are correct." Then, looking for a loophole, He asked, "And who is my neighbor?" You get the impression he was hoping Jesus would say, "Only people in your immediate family, or people of your race, or people in your same economic group." Instead, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan. It teaches us, among other things, that our neighbor is anyone we have the opportunity to help.
1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Now, let's be realistic. The chances are practically zero that you'll be called on to die for anyone. Face it, our lives just aren't that adventurous. We won't get the chance to die for someone, but I can guarantee something that might be more difficult. We will get the chance to be inconvenienced.
When it happens, how will you handle it? Will you do what you can, even when it's not easy? What if your friend next door needs a ride to work every day for a week? What if your neighbor needs help fixing his car? What if the church needs you to help in an activity with the youth group, or to keep small children under contral in church, or to visit someone in the hospital? This is not laying down your life--it's worse, because you live to tell about it. Loving others means that you share yourself, your resources, your time, your talents, wherever you have the opportunity.
How much we love is determined by how much we do. That's because love is not a feeling, it's an action. It is something we do.
How do you think it would affect your life, and the relationships in your life, if you took some steps toward being a more loving person? Would it improve your home-life?, Would it have an impact here at church? Of course, the answer is an obvious yes!.
A big obstacle in living a life of love is that many people simply buy into the "me-first" mind set. This condition doesn't happen by "accident" it is the result of a sinful choice to put your needs and interests above others. I think it is sad but true that many Christian homes are like this, there is a real absence of love. Love is vital to our Christian witness and the place to learn and practice love is in the home.
There are times when we want to love those around us and sometimes we even try to love them, but we seem to fail. Maybe it's because we don't know how to love. This is evident even in our families. The first test of Christian love is the home. Let me ask those of you who are married, "Are you loving to each other?" "Children, are you loving to you parents? Parents, are you loving to your children?" Are you loving those in your home? Do they feel loved? There are two sides to love, giving and receiving. Giving love is the action side, receiving is the feeling side. God made us rational and emotional creatures. He gave us the capacity to feel loved and, equally important, the ability to choose to demonstrate it. The question we need to answer is, "How can I say, 'I love you?'" Or to put it another way, "How can I love in action so that the person I am directing it toward actually senses love?"
There are five ways of expressing love in action to our mate, our children, and anyone else so that they actually feel loved.
Affection is a great need of both men and women. Affection is one of the greatest needs that a person is born with and one that we never outgrow. Affection symbolizes security, comfort, and approval. When a man has someone in his life who truly loves him and who will freely express that to him, it sends a powerful message of affirmation, trust and commitment. Not all of us had the privilege of growing up in a loving home. However, I believe that any one of us can learn to be more loving. As we go over these five love languages, see if you can determine which of them is your predominate love language.
1. WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
One way of expressing love is by building up others through verbal encouragement. Taking the time to verbally pat someone on the back is a way of saying, "I love you. For some there is no greater way to express love than by words of legitimate praise and recognition. Some of us need to improve a bit in learning how to verbally express affection to the significant people in our lives. In 1 Corinthians 13:4 Paul said, "Love is kind." If we are to communicate love verbally, we must use kind words. That has to do with the WAY we speak as well as what we say. The manner in which you speak is exceedingly important.
2. QUALITY TIME
Quality time means giving someone your full attention. Sitting on the couch together watching television is not quality time. It means looking at each other while talking. This requires that you invest yourself in the other person by listening carefully to what they are saying. One of the less obvious but more critical need that many people have is for someone to listen to them. They don't need our advice as much as our attention.
3. GIFT GIVING
Gift giving sends a message, It is providing something that you can hold in your hand and say, "This person was thinking of or remembering me". It may be a gift of something you purchased, or it may be a gift of yourself, your time and attention. Christ gave us the gift of himself.
4. PHYSICAL DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Some people find the predominate way that they sense affection is by touch. It may be a hug, it may be holding a hand, it may be just an arm around a shoulder. Have you ever noticed that almost instinctively in a time of crisis, we hug one another. Why? Because physical touch is a powerful communicator of love. In a time of crisis, more than anything, we need to feel loved. Crises provide a unique opportunity for expressing love. Your tender touches will be remembered long after the crisis has past.
5. ACTS OF SERVICE
We communicate love by serving others, doing things for them that will help them out or that we know that they will appreciate. Whenever you do something for another person beyond the normal course of events, you are saying "I love you" in action. I think that we are afraid to do too much for others because we're afraid they may take advantage of us. But Jesus said that the way to be great in his kingdom was to be a servant to everybody.
Out of those five love languages, one is your primary language. One of those five expressions means more to you than the other four, and another one means the least to you. Your primary love language is the one you most enjoy hearing and the one you tend to speak to other people. Learning how to love others means learning and choosing to speak all five languages.
How can we discover our own "love language?" Three questions asked make it possible to determine your own love language.
1. What do others do that hurts me the most? The opposite of what hurts is likely to be your love language.
2. What do you request most from others? What we request most may be our love language.
3. How do you most consistently express love in your most significant relationships?
Answer those three question and you will likely discover your love language. But the real key is to learn the love languages of those in your home so you can say, "I love you" in a way that they will understand.
 
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