Tag Archives: emotion

Live for Jesus Christ with PASSION!

Today’s message of April 9, 2017 from Melvin Gaines:

There are plenty of messages that reach out to those who do not have a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.  I sense that there is a great need, however, to encourage believers to get better and stronger in their own faith.  It is too often that believers in Jesus Christ have poor growth and development, or even irregular or inconsistent growth spurts that may build up in one area but remain inadequate in others.  If we can show and help people, including non-believers, to see that being a believer in Jesus Christ is attractive and an admirable attribute, then we can leave it up to the Holy Spirit to prick the hearts, minds and souls of those who are on the fence to get off and declare Christ as Lord in their lives.

This past weekend, we explored how believers can take the necessary steps to live for Jesus Christ with PASSION.  It involved self-examination and self-evaluation, and it gives recognition that you are a special creation in God’s eyes—He knew of you and all about you before you were even conceived—and that you have your own uniqueness with God-given talents, gifts and abilities.  When you recognize your true purpose in Jesus Christ, you are on your way to serving Him and glorifying Him with your greatest potential being realized!  He wants you to be successful in your efforts to move people to see the grace and glory of Christ in everything you do!  This PASSION is the realization that you are truly living according to His purpose, and you are unstoppable!  Satan can try to slow you down, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, He sustains you, protects you, and gives you the ability to overcome adversity and shine before others.

So what is this PASSION?  It is the realization of a fulfilling life in Christ.  It is the ongoing effort to be the best that you can be in Christ.  He wants you to grow and learn through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.  All of this, however, begins with you:

Your desire to live for Christ.

Your desire to learn more about Christ and your relationship with Him.

Your desire to get involved in this thing called the Great Commission, and even if it means doing things outside of the box or challenging yourself to move out of your comfort zone at the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Passion describes the height of emotion, and it reflects a powerful emotional connection to Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit facilitates this connection with encouragement, reinforcement and guidance.  A passion-filled believer serves Jesus Christ with the confidence of one who knows who he or she is in Christ, and is readily available.  When Isaiah received the call and prompting from the Lord, his response was “Here I am. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).  A passion-filled believer accepts the call and goes forth to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Do you have the passion for Jesus Christ that He really desires for you to have?  If you are confident in your abilities and are aware of the talents and gifts that God has given you, then you are certainly on your way.  If you lack the drive and energy that it takes to truly shine before others as you live your ministry, consider that you can find this passion if you truly seek the Lord and consider the following requisites of being a passion-filled believer.

The P in PASSION represents principled.

Principled believers adhere to a lifestyle that honors God and keeps His commands.

They rely upon the wisdom and words of God for daily living.

James 1:5

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

The A in PASSION represents the abundant life.

The ultimate goal of every person, believer or not, is to live an abundant life.  A life of abundance has nothing to do with money.  It has everything to do with living in Christ’s power and energy as you serve him each and every day, and the joy that you experience knowing that you are living life to the fullest for Him!

John 10:10 ESV

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

What is the abundant life?  It depends on how you look at it.  The non-believer, or even some believers, may associate abundance with wealth or riches.  That is not God’s definition of abundance.  He wants you to have a life that overflows with God’s presence in every aspect of your existence.  He wants you to experience the completeness of life according to His will and purpose for you.  The effect of an abundant life will be the blessings of life that God will show you because of your faithfulness to Him.

When you get right down to it, the only thing that keep us from living the abundant life is our lack of faith in the power of Jesus Christ over the enemy.  The enemy is Satan, who is described in John 10:10 as the one who seeks to kill and destroy, but God’s power and ability overcomes anything and everything that Satan can do.  The key to living the abundant life is to resist Satan and to seek and remain in fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.

James 4:7 NIV

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

You are worth so much more in your relationship with Jesus Christ!  In order to experience the abundant life, you will have to throw caution to the wind and life a life of faithfulness in trusting the words of Jesus Christ.  He wants so much more for you!  A passion-filled believer lives with purpose, and experiences the abundant life in Christ!

The first S in PASSION represents Spirit-filled.

The true abundant life can only be achieved by the believer in Jesus Christ.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the catalyst that enables you to achieve this abundance and live a passion-filled existence!

Ephesians 5:18

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is instantaneous upon accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life, but the Spirit does not turn the believer into a mind-numbed robot.  You have to allow the Spirit to be in control in order to offset your own fleshly nature.

Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Being Spirit-filled means successful living in reverence and service for Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The Holy Spirit teaches believers how to live a Christlike existence, and His lessons are invaluable as He sanctifies with His presence.

Being Spirit-filled gives you the ability to live a life a passion for Jesus Christ:

Colossians 3:12-17 HCSB

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.  And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.  Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

The second S in PASSION stands for sanctified.

The Holy Spirit’s presence in the believer is a sanctifying presence.  Sanctification is the combination of the believer’s growth in the likeness of Christ. It is the accumulation and application of God’s wisdom and knowledge from none other than Jesus Christ, who A. B. Simpson refers to as “The Sanctifier.”  Jesus Christ proclaimed that the Holy Spirit is the One who will teach and remind believers of the words of Jesus Christ.

John 14:26 ESV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit works within you from the moment of your conversion in recognition that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.  It is best described as an ongoing cleansing process as you put off the old and grow in your new life in Jesus Christ.

Sanctification is what God desires for your life.  You cannot live a life of passion in Christ without sanctification, because it is the essence of an obedient lifestyle.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NIV

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Sanctification does not mean a life of perfection, but it does mean that you desire to be holy as the Lord is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  It means that the believer desires a greater faith walk and a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, and both of these requires a humble, teachable role within the presence of the Spirit.

The I in PASSION represents being an influencer.

Sharing your faith, in the leading of the Holy Spirit, is influential.  The words spoken are given with conviction and in righteousness to those who hear them.  A passion-filled believer is speaking in accord with the will of God, who desires for every person to enter into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 HCSB

This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

There is a difference between an influencer and a coercer.  An influencer shows the love of Christ in their speech to others.  One who coerces is not really allowing the Spirit to work in the life of the hearer.  The words spoken are to reflect the love and concern of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 5:13-16 ESV

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

An influencer provides words of wisdom and knowledge about not just the gospel, but everything that is beneficial.

Proverbs 9:9 ESV

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

The O in PASSION represents being obedient to God and His Word.

Being obedient to God means loving Him with all of your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37), and it includes an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 14:15 ESV

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

1 John 5:3 ESV  

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

Loving God and obedience to Him are synonymous.  You cannot do one without the other.  A passion-filled believer strives to live in faithfulness and trust in the Word each day.

And finally, the N in PASSION represents being a new creation in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ’s sanctifying power through the Holy Spirit transforms you as a new creation each day.  Your actions of reading, studying, meditating on His Word and living out a faithful life in Jesus Christ is a constant life transition that will also show the growth and development as a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 HCSB

From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

This ongoing “newness” in Jesus Christ is an ongoing development.  Our challenge is to remain close to Him, and in our closeness, obedience and service to Him, He will continue to renew us as we strive for holiness.  He continues to provide us with the ability to resist sin and those things that block our ongoing transformation to a place of freedom and righteousness in His name.  We are being made new every day in Jesus Christ!  A passion-filled believer puts nothing above the importance of fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Principled.

Abundant Life.

Spirit-filled.

Sanctified.

Influencer.

Obedient to God and His Word.

New Creation.

Each of these requisites will lead to a believer truly living a passion-filled, abundant life in service for Jesus Christ.  If you are ready to take your relationship with Jesus Christ to the next level, He only wants you to take steps of faith towards Him, and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit will continue to work in you and sanctify you in your efforts to serve Him.  He will affirm you with blessings and enable you to endure any opposition.  You will become a positive influence before others as a light in a dark world, and an encourager to those who need it most.  As the Holy Spirit fills and sanctifies you, it is only a matter of time before you can live a passion-filled life in Jesus Christ!

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines

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Prayer: What Difference Does It Make? (Part 2)

Today’s message summary of December 11, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Today, we will discuss three different postures of praying.  My goal in this series to discuss biblical characters and see that they reveal their experiences with God, and relate to their emotions.

  1. Prayer of Tears
  2. Prayer of Relinquishment
  3. Corporate Prayer

This is a timely discussion based upon what is going on within our own congregation.

Have you ever been cut to the heart?  Have you ever had the opportunity to release your emotions?  This leads us to our first posture of praying to God–the prayer of tears.  It is an emotional pain.  Many have experienced this, and may even experience it when receiving repentance from sin.

Psalm 6:6

I am weary from my groaning;

with my tears I dampen my pillow

and drench my bed every night.

 

Psalm 56:8

You Yourself have recorded my wanderings.

Put my tears in Your bottle.

Are they not in Your records?

 

Psalm 119:136

My eyes pour out streams of tears

because people do not follow Your instruction.

 

Jeremiah is often known as the “weeping prophet” because of how he cared about Israel as they remained disobedient to God.  He cared for them so much that he wept for them.

Jesus also cried for the people and prayed for even his own enemies:

Hebrews 5:7

During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.

 

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

 

Jesus did not just share a couple of tears for Lazarus, he expressed his agony and felt the pain of Lazarus’ passing.  This should show that Jesus indeed relates to us and understands what we go through.

Note that expressions of prayer and crying out is actually a renewal of yourself.  It relieves stress and eases the pain of your life.  Praying with tears is a measure of God’s grace.  It is a gift from God. It is how He wires us to be able to cope under difficult circumstances.

The second posture is the prayer of relinquishment.  It involves resting in the will of God.  Whatever has happened in your life, whether you agree with it or not, is to be turned over to Him.

Philippians 3:12-13

Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

 

When you think of this particular posture, ask yourself what it is that is holding you back and keeping you from giving the matter to God?

The third posture is corporate prayer.

Acts 2:42

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.

 

This is the essence of the first church, and it is to be the same for today’s church.  When a church gathers corporately (as a group), it is to pray in this way on a consistent basis.

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.

 

Corporate prayer is very important for the church. It is necessary to pray.  I encourage everyone to pray for whatever is on your heart.


A Successful Family Life

Today’s message summary of December 4, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

A successful family is something that needs to be worked on.  It can be difficult at times, and there is no manual that is offered that gives clues how to do it.

Every person within the family has a divine purpose, and it is up to the family members to help sharpen each other.

It is better, by far, to grow healthy children into healthy adults than it is to repair old men and women.  The child raised in the Lord has a good opportunity to come up and succeed.

Dreams require sacrifice if they are going to become a reality.  Children are to be taught how to make sacrifices.  They need to be instructed how to give to others instead of just receive things.

Without sacrifice and dedication, a child will ultimately not go anywhere.  Making sacrifices are a requirement for those who desire a good education.

There is a threefold development that has to be taught within a family that are critical to successful living:

  1. Mind development (intellect, psychology)
  2. Body development (physical appearance)
  3. Reproductive drive (sexual desire)

This needs to be instructed within the family as there will be a number of voices from the outside that will try to shape or influence how a person views these issues.

The most important part of this that is developed last (that should be developed first) is the spiritual development of the child and the family.

Psalm 119:99

I have more insight than all my teachers because Your decrees are my meditation.

 

Psalm 119:59

I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees.

 

Psalm 119:11-12

I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. Lord, may You be praised; teach me Your statutes.

 

There will be the need for instruction to address the different levels of growth in the family.

Each person in the family has to still make his or her own commitment to Jesus Christ.

John 6:63

The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

 

John 1:12

But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name.

 

1 John 5:4-5, 13

…because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

 

Success comes from direct obedience to the Holy Spirit.

In the family, there can be these scenarios:

  1. One person saved and one not saved (1 Corinthians 7:13).
  2. Both husband and wife are saved.
  3. One following Scripture while the other does not.
  4. Both parents saved living out the Scripture, while a child may live for the Lord and another may not.
  5. The complete family is saved and is following the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is the teacher in the family (John 14:25-26).

We in the family are the students (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13).

The Bible is the textbook (2 Timothy 3:16).

The family is to help one another to grow:

  1. Intellectually. We communicate our knowledge to one another. We listen to each other.
  1. Emotionally. We cry, hurt, laugh and have fun together.
  1. Physically. Hugging, touches, kisses, wrestling.
  1. Spiritually. We all help guide, but only the Holy Spirit can do the real teaching (John 14:25).

Understanding a person is to know when the Holy Spirit is the only one to meet the need at this particular time in life.

Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.


Mothering Through the Storms of Life

Today’s message summary of May 10, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

What is a mother to do when the dinner is burned, the children are fighting, and the fathers are sitting and watching television?

Mothers have a huge responsibility. Their duties are numerous, and it is work.

For some reason, some of us may think that once mothers get older, the job is done. Hardly. To be a mother is to be a nurturer all throughout life. A mother pours her life out to others for their benefit. Mothers are outstanding. A mother leads and cultivates young lives. Mothers teach. Mothers listen.  Mothers are sensitive to the cries of their children and are attentive to them.

Mothers and grandmothers weather the storms of life. It requires being at the top of your game. There will be occasions where a mother can be overwhelmed. We all need help. While mothers are capable of raising children, there will be times when they need help.

Exodus 2:7-10

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a woman from the Hebrews to nurse the boy for you?” “Go,” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoah’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

 

Imagine the emotions that are taking place here. The natural mother of Moses nurses and nurtures him only to one day release him in order for him to survive. She held her son knowing that she could not be the mother that she wanted to be. While she could not keep him, she did the right thing in order for him to live.

Mothers, this can be a struggle at times–doing the right thing for your child order that he or she can live.

Hannah worshiped the Lord with her husband, Elkanah. They were prayerful to God for a child, for she was barren, and God remembered their prayer:

1 Samuel 1:20

After some time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, because she said, “I requested him from the Lord.”

 

She kept her promise once she had her son. She dedicated him to the Lord.

1 Samuel 1:27

I (Hannah) prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me what I asked Him for, I now give the boy to the Lord. For as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” Then he (Eli) bowed in worship to the Lord there.

 

She gave her son to the Lord in order for him to come under His care.

How many of you have submitted your child under God’s control–under His will, his pleasures? Mothers, you have to pray a child all the way through to the point where he comes under God’s care.

Mothers, remember to fight for your son’s rights.

Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, intervened to speak with David about his vow to make Solomon the king:

1 Kings 1:17

She (Bathsheba) replied, “My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, ‘Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne.’

 

1 Kings 1:24

“My lord the king,” Nathan said, “did you say, ‘Adonijah is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne’?

 

1 Kings 1:28-30

King David responded by saying, “Call in Bathsheba for me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him. The king swore an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every difficulty, just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne in my place, that is exactly what I will do this very day.”

 

Mothers, learn to accept help from godly people in raising your child.

Acts 16:1-3

Then he (Paul) went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. Paul wanted Timothy to go with him, so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek.

 

Paul was entrusted by Timothy’s mother to travel with him. It was important in Timothy’s effort to learn and grow in the ministry. Paul had taken part in helping to raise Timothy. He was taught in the faith with the Jewish Scriptures, but it was important for him to be circumcised in order to be accepted in the faith by the Jews.

Sometimes you will need to do what seems to be unnecessary in order to do what is necessary. It is about looking at the bigger picture. Mothers, remember to teach your child those things that will be a real help as he or she gets older.

Mothers, you have an awesome task in teaching your child how to walk with God, but note that you cannot teach what you do not know.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Self-Control

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Self-control is the measure of keeping one to remain focused on following Jesus Christ. It is an area that is controlled by the Holy Spirit. A lack of self control comes from being controlled by the flesh. Fleshly control is an opening to demonic influence. The Holy Spirit is present to allow for self control but a person must yield to the Spirit in order to maintain self control.

In Galatians 5, it is noted that the law is present because of sin, but it is the fruits of The Spirit that are beyond the law because you are acting in self control under God’s presence.

Self-control helps to capture all of our emotions. It is the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.

Paul witnesses to Felix:

Acts 24:24-25

24 After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.”

 

Felix is being addressed because he is in desperate need of exhibiting self-control. He has been through three marriages. He needed to hear from Paul about:

1. Faith in Christ

2. Righteousness

3. Self-control

4. Judgment to come

 

Paul is in control.

Matthew 10:19-20

19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

 

You may feel you have a right to take action against a person for their mistreatment of you.

1 Samuel 24:4-6

4 so they said to him, “Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.

5 Afterward, David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “I swear before the Lord: I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”

 

1 Samuel 26:7-10

7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” 

9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

 

Self-control is a quality for anyone in leadership.

Titus 1:8

…but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled.

 

Titus 2:2

Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.

 

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher.

 

1 Corinthians 9:25

Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.

 

Having knowledge of God’s Word helps to build us up in self-control. Training under God’s Word requires it, and it will teach you how to rely more and more on the presence of God in your life to rely upon Him in maintaining self-control.

The value of self-control is perseverance (patience).

 

2 Peter 1:6

…knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness.

 

Self-control can bring you respect (honor). It teaches how to avoid strife.

Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute,

but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

 

Self-control (calmness) brings rest. It provides the ability to work things out.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your place,

for calmness puts great offenses to rest.

 

Without self-control, you can only display the flesh at its worst and all of its foolishness.

Proverbs 14:29

A patient person shows great understanding,

but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

 

2 Timothy 3:3

…unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good.

 

You are being evaluated by others in your words, actions and behaviors to see if you really are who you claim to be–a Christian. The Christian is expected to have self-control. Living a life of carnality will show only a lack of control.

God wants you to be able to have the joy of the presence of the Holy Spirit by operating in self-control. When the characteristics of the fruits of The Spirit are manifested before others, the very presence of God and His power can be experienced by others as you remain faithful to Him.


Courageous in Christ

Today’s message summary from Melvin Gaines:

[Last week we discussed the plight of what it means to be a myopic (or nearsighted) believer, and what it takes to overcome it. While we discussed the downside traits of a myopic believer–hidden fruits, complaining and unappreciative, we presented a remedy to grow strong in your faith as a believer. We discussed how important it is to build and develop your IMAGE in order to become more faithful and confident as a believer in Jesus Christ.]

Developing your IMAGE starts with God’s Word:

Investigate God’s Word

Meditate on His Word

Apply His Word

Grow in Jesus Christ

Endure the hardships that will certainly come

 

2 Corinthians 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Believers in Jesus Christ are reminded by Scripture to be confident in their faith, but often, this is easier said than done. Perhaps you have experienced difficulties or setbacks in your faith because of life’s circumstances. These are completely normal and understandable. You can be a believer in Jesus Christ and experience different degrees of hardship. In these experiences, there is a lack of confidence in your circumstances.

Where does this lack of confidence come from?

  • First, it begins with a loss of focus on Jesus Christ
  • Next, it continues with doubt–something is not right, and now you’re not sure about the outcome of the situation
  • Finally, the loss of focus and the doubt is stirred up with a potion of fear.

A loss of focus is a huge distraction in your walk of faith.

Doubt is the opposite of faith.

Fear creeps in when faith is absent.

In order to get back to a place where faith can be placed at the forefront, you need to overcome the greatest obstacle that perpetuates doubt, and that is fear.

Fear comes from the available information, or a lack of information, which leads to a perception or anticipation of a negative outcome.

There are many different ways that fear become manifest in the life of a believer. Here is a top ten list that encapsulates how fear can overshadow a person’s life:

10. Losing your freedom

09. The unknown

08. Pain

07. Disappointment

06. Misery

05. Loneliness

04. Ridicule

03. Rejection

02. Death

01. Failure

Fear is a real emotion, but it is debilitating to your faith.

The result of fear, in your doubt and lack of focus, is a believer who is outside of the place where God wants you to be. It’s a place that is unsettling at best, and dreadful at worst.

Fear is not a switch that one can turn on and turn off. In our flesh, there is no such thing as an absence of fear. Fear is like a wound that needs ointment and a bandage in order to promote healing.

In order to overcome fear, which allows us to combat doubt and regain focus on Jesus Christ, there is a remedy. Fear must be suppressed with a reliance on God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fear must be met with courage.

Courage is the essence of a believer that drives the necessary change to promote growth of your IMAGE in Jesus Christ and the ability, in spite of any life difficulty or circumstance, to proclaim the good news for the Great Commission.

God reminds you of the importance of being courageous. It takes your mind off of the things that you are fearful of. He gives us many reminders and words of encouragement throughout Scripture.

2 Timothy 1:6-7

6 Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:9

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Fear is anxiety and can be driven by impatience. God wants you to be patient.

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous.
Wait for the Lord.

 

God wants you to experience rest and comfort as you rely upon the Spirit to overcome fear.

John 16:33

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

 

Fear is the absence of trust. God reminds us to trust in Him. Leave the results of your anxiety at His feet.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?

 

There’s no need to go it alone. There’s strength and courage in numbers. Stay in a fellowship.

Philippians 1:27-28

27 Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, 28 not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance—and this is from God.

 

Trusting God in your fear leads to confidence that there will be a good result…but even more than this…that God will be glorified.

Daniel 3:15-18

15 Now if you’re ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

What amazing courage! But make no mistake about it…your courage is far from your own strength. God provides the ability for you to overcome fear and be strong in Him.

Philippians 4:11-13

11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

 

Proverbs 3:25-26

25 Don’t fear sudden danger

or the ruin of the wicked when it comes,

26 for the Lord will be your confidence

and will keep your foot from a snare.

 

Isaiah 41:8-10

8 But you, Israel, My servant,

Jacob, whom I have chosen,

descendant of Abraham, My friend—

9 I brought you from the ends of the earth

and called you from its farthest corners.

I said to you: You are My servant;

I have chosen you and not rejected you.

10 Do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be afraid, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you; I will help you;

I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.

 

God offers Himself to you for comfort, healing, preservation and love, which overcomes all fear. He is your confidence. He is our confidence that we will succeed in any difficult situation or circumstance.

His love overcomes fear.

1 John 4:17-19

17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Love Languages For Your Life – Seminar Text

The following is the text of the two-day seminar presented to Akron Alliance Fellowship Church on April 8-9, 2011.  The material is based upon the book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Dr. Gary Chapman, © 1992, Northfield Publishing, Chicago IL.

Welcome to Spring Break 2011 and another installment of the Akron Alliance Fellowship Church Relationship Conference Series.  We are now in our fourth year of the series and our sixth seminar where we study and discuss everyday interpersonal relationships with a biblical perspective.  This is a unique approach to relationships that go beyond the how-to and advice books as we rely upon God’s Word to extrapolate how relationships form, develop, and change within our life experiences.

In the past we have discussed relationships from an interpersonal standpoint, including those with relatives, friends, co-workers, and, of course, a loving, healthy relationship with God and even how you value yourself.  We have focused on marital relationships and explored the importance of knowing your spouse as your marriage grows.  We have even discussed the difficulties of being in relationships with those that you love that are often unlovable.  Topics of divorce and remarriage have been discussed.  Yes, we covered a lot of ground, and there is much more to explore with our present look at love in action.

Love is a word that no one ever gets tired of talking about.  It has a miraculous resonance to it because of how it can dramatically change the lives of the people who experience it.  We should be thankful for the importance of love that God has always emphasized in his Word, and the responsibility that He gives to each of us in the role of love in how we interact with others.

It begins with how God demonstrates His love for us and that it is timeless and beyond measure:

Psalm 136:1-9

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.  His love is eternal.

Give thanks to the God of gods.  His love is eternal.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords.  His love is eternal.

He alone does great wonders.  His love is eternal.

He made the heavens skillfully.  His love is eternal.

He spread the land on the waters.  His love is eternal.

He made the great lights:  His love is eternal.

The sun to rule by day, His love is eternal.

The moon and stars to rule by night. His love is eternal.

John 3:16-17

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

He also gives us insight into the characteristics of love in its practice.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13

Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.  But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for languages, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.  Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Leviticus 19:18

Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and most important commandment.  The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”

John 13:34-35

“I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.  By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word.  He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless.

With all of these examples that we have of love, why is it that it can be so difficult to communicate this love to others?  In addition, why do we sometimes have difficulty with understanding those same gestures of love that are directed towards us?  For your consideration, the simple answer to these questions is that we also sometimes struggle with the degree and measure of love that God has for us, let alone that of the love that we give to others and that we receive from others.  Love indeed is patient and kind, and can also be confusing if you don’t understand its delivery methods very well.  For example, we do not understand God’s love for us without the information provided to us by the Holy Spirit.  Without that information, we would need an interpreter just as we cannot interpret the meaning of Scripture without the wisdom of the Spirit to help.  In the same way, we sometimes need an interpreter to provide us with information about the linguistics of love communication.

This seminar will look at the languages of love as identified by the author of the best selling book, The Five Love Languages—How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, Dr. Gary Chapman.  Dr. Chapman’s book was written in 1992 and became a best seller with additional books that grew out of the original, including those that expanded the love languages beyond the marital couple relationship.  This is important in that love languages are spoken on a daily basis between individuals who are not necessarily married.  They are spoken between a parent and a child, a brother and a sister, and even between friends and co-workers.  This communication is easily recognizable in many different interpersonal relationships, but only if you are conscious of them and are looking for them.  It is essential to learn about these love languages if you are interested in the healthy development of a relationship.

Love languages are relevant to each and every one of us for one simple reason…each of us has sensory capabilities, and we all respond to stimulus through our senses.  Can you note what your five senses are?  Sight…hearing…taste…touch and smell!  It is how we receive all of our communication, whether it is verbal or non-verbal; as a result, it is little wonder that we are responsive to love linguistics because of how it affects our overall communication efforts.

Each of us knows when there is good, effective communication between two persons (and not just between married couples)—between people that are friends with you or even your co-workers.  Words to describe effective communication do not necessarily mean that you are in agreement with someone else.  Effective communication is when both parties receive information that accurately represents the viewpoints of the other person.  Effective communication does not necessarily mean that you are like-minded in your way of thinking.  This is a misconception of effective communication.  There are times when two people will have to agree to disagree, but that doesn’t mean that the communication was erroneous or ineffective.  Ineffective communication is when there is a misunderstanding by one party of the other party’s intent, or it can also be ineffective if the person communicating information does not do so clearly enough for the other person to understand.  You can see that, with all of the opportunities for miscommunication, the practice of effective communication requires just that—practice.  It sometimes requires a little extra effort to make sure that effective communication is taking place between two or more people.

Can any of you think of situations where communication was ineffective between you and someone else, or scenarios where the best of intentions for one person to communicate with another person backfired?

What we want you to discover about the love languages is that they are unique to the individual in the same way that each of us have unique personality traits.  One person’s love language may not be applicable to another person.  Some persons may have only one primary love language, while others may have more than one (but usually not more than two or three would be considered primary).  The key to successful interpersonal relationships is to know how to identify love languages, and how to use your “love in action” by giving and receiving through these expressions of love.

Love is More Than a Warm, Fuzzy Feeling

The word “love” is used very freely today, and while it has a primary definition, it can mean different things to different people.  While most people understand love as having a strong attraction and connection to another person, we also know that love is evident with actions that support it, in much the same way that a person’s faith in Jesus Christ is most evident by a person’s actions that support such faith.  You’ve heard the expression, “If you love me, then show me…” Our discussions will show that love is far more than an emotional connection.  Just as an engine will fail to run without the sparks from a spark plug firing the gasoline within, the emotion of love will eventually burn out without the sparks of love in action within a relationship.

Love is profoundly more than a physical attraction, and much more than that feeling when you first fell in love, even the love for a spouse.  The evidence over many relationships suggests that there is much more to the initial warm, gushy, mind-wandering experience of falling in love.  In fact, after the gushiness wears off, love now requires a shift in one’s thinking and one’s attitude.  The love is now expressed with a series of actions that will actually enhance the love relationship into one that is nurtured and grown through a series of actions.

This love in action is best demonstrated by the love of God in action:

1 Corinthians 16:14

Your every action must be done with love.

1 John 3:16-17

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but shuts off his compassion from him—how can God’s love reside in him?

Job 10:12

You gave me life and faithful love, and Your care has guarded my life.

With these verses in mind, we will spend our time looking at specific actions within a relationship that we will characterize as love languages.  To recognize these love languages requires becoming adept at what I will call love linguistics.  You need to be able to speak the language of love languages, and familiarity with these languages will increase your love linguistics.  Before we explore these languages, let’s start with an important factor that needs to be present to allow for the exchange of love languages.

Love Requires Humility

In order to communicate effectively in love linguistics, you must be humble.  Humility is the key to an open relationship, whether you are single or married, or whether you are developing a friendship or a work relationship.  It is the key to being an effective communicator in any language, let along a love language, because you have to be willing to listen.

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.

James 4:6

But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

To be an effective communicator, you must be willing to stop whatever you are doing, set it aside for a moment, and listen to the person who is communicating with you.  In the same way, effective communication requires a degree of thought that must go into the process.  In both instances, you must give consideration to the other person, whether receiving or giving the communication.  You will also find yourself to be more sensitive to the other person’s needs if you act in humility.  Listening to the other person is effective communication and it requires a humble spirit.  It sets the stage for the effective exchange of love languages between people.

We must be careful, however, to not confuse humility with feeling good.  There will be times when you will not feel your best, and yet you will still need to communicate in such a way where the recipient will not receive the brunt of your bad feelings.  This is also an act of humility, because you are putting your feelings aside in order to make sure that your language is not affected by how you are feeling.  It’s not easy to do, but it is necessary to communicate at your best even when you are not feeling your best.  In summary, humility is the underlying element to being an effective love linguist.

Speaking the Same Love Language is Not Required

In order to understand a person who is speaking Spanish or French, you need to know that language.  In the same way, a person who does not speak English will have a difficult time interpreting what you or I would be saying.  As far as love languages are concerned, the great thing about knowing your love language or the love language of your spouse, friend or peer is that you do not need to speak the same language.  You only need to be aware of the other person’s love language to be an effective love linguist.  Once you are aware of the other person’s language, you can speak very clearly to the other person in ways that words alone would pale in comparison.

The Love Languages

Dr. Chapman’s books all focused on five different methods of communication for married couples, family members, and friends.  The languages are all based upon the personalities of the persons involved, and all of these are relatively simple to understand and simple to implement once they are recognized.

Acts of Service

You would not immediately think that acts of service is anything special in communicating a love language to someone else, but you need to consider the personality of the individual who relishes when someone shows their love for them with this act of self-sacrifice.  Consider that you live with someone who likes to keep a neat house or makes a fuss over keeping things clean.  Doing something as simple as offering to take out the trash or vacuum the rug for this person would be a huge gesture on your part, and it would show one very important thing…that you care enough about what that person cares about.  It’s huge.

1 John 3:18

Little children, we must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth.

1 Peter 4:10

Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.

The opposite of this love language, which is essentially an affront to the person who assumes responsibilities, is to be lazy and inattentive to the helper’s personality, and also practice being forgetful or non-committal to fulfilling promises to help out in this area.  This type of behavior is especially disturbing to the hard-working person, and will certainly throw cold water on a relationship (and not in a refreshing way!).

The person who appreciates acts of service is usually someone who is also very active in their efforts to keep things in order.  The potential issue that an active person has is that he or she will have moments where they may become fatigued and a little frustrated over their efforts to keep their house clean.  If the person you care about has this type of personality (obsession) (laugh), you may sometimes be caught in a difficult situation.  The person who enjoys keeping house should not give you the same compulsion to keep a clean house in order to please the other person.  In fact, that is a very uncomfortable situation, and you may be altering your own personality to meet the other person’s helping gifts.  That is not speaking the other person’s love language.  It would only create tension and it could have a negative effect on your effort to communicate with the other person.  In reality, the Acts of Service love language is not a 50-50 tradeoff of helping each other.  Remember, the act of speaking the same language is not a requirement for communication.  There may never be “equality” in duties performed, for example, between a husband and wife.  The wife may adore her husband for making a “contribution” to the household, such as vacuuming, washing dishes, or cleaning the bathroom.  His willingness to help out is a major boost to her well-being because she believes he cares enough to lend a hand.  It is his selfless acts that show his love and concern for her.

Let’s take this language of Acts of Service and make a note of some examples that are applicable to married couples, friendships, and in the workplace.  Please write down the scenarios and, while doing this, think about some of the things that come to mind where you can see opportunities to nurture such a language within your own relationship.

Receiving Gifts

In the same area of love communication as acts of service is the love language of receiving gifts is reflective of making gestures that support your love for the other person.  Notice that this is not the effort of “giving gifts,” which diminishes the nature of the language.  The receiving of gifts is the response that you give to the person who gives you the gift.  The gift is not about its value and how you respond—for example, if my wife were to give me a brand new convertible for my birthday or for Christmas, I would be very, very grateful.  Anyone would be, in fact, ecstatic over such a gift.  It’s easy to be appreciative if you saw a new car in your driveway with a bow on it.  It’s entirely different, however, when you receive a gift that is much smaller and not as costly.  There is a clear difference between the two, but we need to remove the monetary and material aspect of receiving gifts in order to best understand the language.

Do you remember a time when you received an unexpected gift or a surprise gift?  Think beyond a physical gift, please.  The actual gift may have been flowers or a tin of candy or even a small Care Bear that fits your personality.  Consider the emotional response of receiving such a gift because of its timing or because of the level of thought that went into it.  It was a special gift not because of its material value, but because it was something of a much greater value, and it required careful thought and consideration from the gift giver.  It speaks of the love, care, and thoughtfulness being directed to you by the other person.  If you know someone who loves surprises like this, you can appreciate how they would be extremely happy to receive even the smallest gifts.  The gift may even be in line with the other love language pertaining to acts of service.  Maybe your surprise gift for your wife is to cook her breakfast, clean the bathrooms, and offer to get maid service for a day (or maybe none of those things if she feels compelled to clean the house before the maid arrives, and if you really can’t cook—but I think you get the idea).

In contrast, there is a negative effect that one can have on a person whose love language is receiving gifts if you flat out forget about your friend’s or spouse’s birthday or your anniversary, or if you come up with a gift that did not require a lot of thought.  This can have the opposite effect of giving a well-thought out gift, and reflect that you do not value the relationship as much as you say you do.  Even a lack of everyday gestures of love has a negative effect on the person who appreciates gifts.  The occasional gifts can be undermined by an ongoing attitude of selfish behavior over time.

Even if receiving gifts is not a primary love language, we need only to refer to Scripture to see the proper attitude that the gift giver should have—a heart of generosity:

2 Corinthians 9:6-13

Remember this: the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.  Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. As it is written:  He has scattered; He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.  Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness, as you are enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us.  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God.  Through the proof of this service, they will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others.

Take a moment and think about situations where you can recall giving or receiving a gift, and why you still remember the incident.  What made it special?

Quality Time

If you value a relationship with a person, you will need to devote quality time to it.

Relationships will not effectively grow without quality time.

A biblical reference to quality time is the exchange between Martha and Jesus and how the busyness of life can swallow up the things that are most important, especially your relationship with Jesus Christ:

Luke 10:38-42

While they were traveling, He (Jesus) entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said.  But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”  The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

As evidenced by Martha’s experience, quality time may be the most difficult one to practice and achieve, and while we are not ranking these in order of importance, it really is very important in its execution, and it is extremely important to the person where quality time is a primary love language.  Quality time is more than just saying, “let’s take a vacation.”  In fact, it does not require taking a vacation in order to experience it, although a vacation is a possible by-product of a high level of quality time.  Quality time, for the love linguist, means that the other person is important enough for you to stop what you are doing, look into the eyes of the other person, and express your love in such a way where there is no misunderstanding as to how much you love and care for the other person.  The act of stopping what you are doing will sidetrack some people, while stopping what you are doing and looking the other person in the eye will absolutely derail others, until we get to the remainder of the population who will stop, look, and express their feelings.  After that, there’s hardly anyone left.

Quality time, according to Dr. Chapman, means really being available for the other person—with the TV off, dinner over and done with, and while not occupied with anything else except your spouse.  As busy as we can be, this is very difficult to do—it requires practice for many of us.  The truth is that the person who values quality time can feel very neglected if there is not a sincere effort to spend time with that person by his or her spouse.  The time spent makes him or her feel loved and feel special.  Ongoing distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be very hurtful.

Let’s define what quality time is.  Quality time is time spent outside of the normal hustle and bustle of a couple’s day-to-day relationship.  Quality time is NOT doing something that you want to do and dragging the other person along with you.  It is not hanging out at a sports bar with the guys and coaxing your friend or spouse along if they don’t drink and dislike sports!  Quality time is not going from place to place to shop for clothes and shoes while your spouse or friend is wandering with you like a lost child looking for a parent.  There needs to be a mutual understanding of what quality time is, and then making plans that surround that quality time if it is not possible for you to make the effort to stop your regular routine.

One of our bad habits today is being engrossed with our telephones, and I have lost count of the number of times that I have talked to my boss or someone else who is looking not at me, but at their phone because of an email buzzing them and having an obsession with the next important message.  Isn’t it annoying to be virtually ignored or to play second fiddle to a Blackberry?  Well, if this annoys you to no end, imagine how this would feel to a person who needs to have a few moments of your attention just to express how his or her day is going, and you don’t slow yourself down long enough to take a listen or show your concern?  This is a critical form of selfless communication that must be carried out for the recipient in order for you to show that, above anything and everything else going on in your life, the other person is most important.

Quality time, in summary, is giving your loved one undivided attention.  Remember when you were first dating your future husband or wife and when you hung on every word, and even when you would talk on the phone for hours into the night and early morning hours until you thought that the phone in your hand and on your face would ignite from the heat and from the fire of your relationship?  How long ago was that?  Remember how the newness of the relationship can now be affected negatively by the busyness of life.  A person who values quality time will easily be inspired by moments between the two of you where everything slows down to a stop, and where you both can have a good, eye-to-eye conversation.

Can you think of examples of quality time that you had to undertake just to force yourself to stop and hear what your friend or spouse had to say?  Did you find yourself doing these things on your own, or did you need to be prompted because of an unfortunate event?

Words of Affirmation

Is there anyone that does not appreciate kind words?  No one would ever refuse to listen to another person’s kindness express in words to them.  We can easily reason that no one wants to hear words that are unkind within the course of a conversation, or even if they are expressed to us without warning.

What this means is that words are very powerful.  They can have a tremendous amount of influence in our lives, especially in those moments where there is some sort of an emotional connection involved.  The actual words, by themselves, have less of an impact, for example, if they come from strangers.  You may not like, for example, if a person expresses displeasure with you because they perceived that you cut the person off in traffic.  After the initial shock of what is said to you, it is likely that you can carry on with your day without it being ruined.  If the hurtful words, however, come from someone whom you have an emotional attachment to, the words used can have a lasting effect on you because they cause a degree of emotional damage when they are expressed.  Kind words, on the other hand, are powerful and make an impact for the good of the relationship.

Words of affirmation, in a married relationship, for example, are the additional words that support the words, “I love you.”  Just as a couple can say “I love you” only so many times before there needs to be actions to support that love, words of affirmation provide information to the recipient that supports the underlying statement or declaration of “I love you.”

Before going further, it’s important to define what I mean in having an “emotional attachment” to another person in order to best understand the concept of words of affirmation as a love language.  An emotional attachment can be either a good relationship with a person or a not-so-good relationship.  For example, a parent-child relationship can be a strong, loving bond, or it can be a disastrous relationship because of the lack of affirmation that a child receives from the parent.  The same is true within a marriage, where there is an understandable emotional attachment that begins with courtship, the ceremony, and the aftermath.  Unfortunately, there are marriages that become stale over time because what began as an emotional connection may have changed for one or both parties in the marriage, and there is less and less spoken that will affirm one or the other person.  The emotional attachment is still there because of the relationship, but the emotion itself can be altogether lost if there was nothing in place to reinforce the original bond.

Words of affirmation are one of the most important love languages for those persons who need to be reminded of their value within the relationship.  This is more than just a self-confidence booster or a vain expression of platitudes.  The words must match up with the feelings of the persons involved.  It is a very important part of communication, and I contend that even if this is not your primary love language, you should practice the use of words of affirmation.  Words of affirmation, or encouraging words, help to eliminate potential misunderstandings that can exist between two people in a relationship.  This is a situation where the more positive you can be about a person (even if their overall behavior is not necessarily the best at a given moment), the better the communication.  It will take you through those moments of difficulty and pave the way for effective communication and expression of feelings in the long run.

A person who takes out the trash, works hard every day to provide for the family, or even cleans the bathroom should be affirmed with words that express appreciation for what the person does and for what they value.  It’s one thing to do these things, as well as other tasks, and not receive any comments for their efforts, but it is entirely another thing to be affirmed that what is being done indeed has a value to the other person in the relationship.  It is recognition of the character traits of the person in words to support their actions.  It is a way to let another person know that who they are and what they do is important to you.  With that said, sometimes we will fail to express words of affirmation to the other person because (a) the person does something that is important to him or her for the good of the relationship but you do not believe it to be as important to it, or (b) because you are unhappy with the person for some reason and you don’t want to contradict your unhappiness with kind words.  Sometimes, it is this unhappiness that unleashes criticism of the other person’s behaviors at its highest level.

Before proceeding, here is a Scriptural reference to how powerful unkind words can be if they are not controlled:

James 3:6-9

And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies; it pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.  For every creature—animal or bird, reptile or fish—is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in God’s likeness.

The power of the words you use can either motivate a person in love or will repel a person if the words are counter-productive in the relationship.  As an example, let’s assume that a wife wants her husband to paint the bedroom.  The husband has determined that he either does not like painting or does not want to paint the bedroom.  This is a conflict that can go the wrong way very quickly without some thoughtful intervention.  A husband will perceive a wife’s prompts to paint the bedroom as nagging if all he ever hears is “Will you paint the bedroom this weekend, PLEASE?”  Even if you say please, it still sounds like nagging if that is all he ever hears about for the past eighteen weeks.  Words of affirmation are not to be used as a form of manipulation, but if the husband is affirmed by all of the things that he does, and does well, there is room for discussion about those things that he does not do very well or does not like to do.  How would you approach this situation?  What would you say to encourage the husband to paint the bedroom?

As you can see, words of affirmation for the other person are not to be used to get something done for the sake of accomplishing your goals…remember; a relationship is a team effort.  You want the other person to feel sincerely valued and appreciated, so that they are willing to tackle projects, meet goals, and accomplish things that have a mutual benefit to the relationship.  The words are used for encouragement—not manipulation.  Manipulation only goes so far.  The recipient will know beyond the shadow of doubt that what you say cannot be trusted if it is only to get things done that you want to do.  It’s the fastest path to shutting down effective communication.

Words of affirmation are powerful for the person most sensitive to this love language.  They have the ability to positively affect other areas within the relationship because of the emotional connection involved.  They are like sparks around a flame, especially at the right time.  The positive words can offset the person who had a bad day at the office or the person who is going through difficulty.

Let’s come up with some examples of words of affirmation that we can express to our spouse, or to a friend or other family member.

Physical Touch

The love language of physical touch is not simply of a sexual nature. For example, if you were to ask a man what his primary love language is, he would usually blurt out PHYSICAL TOUCH, of course, because men are sexually wired in this way.  While it is impossible to ignore that different degrees of touching have to occur during sex, this does not automatically default to being a person’s primary love language.

Many greetings or acknowledgements that we experience are usually associated with physical contact, and the vast majority of people respond favorably when it is received.  A handshake, a pat on the back, a hug, a kiss on the cheek, a high five, or even a chest bump (men only, of course) are examples of physical contact that are associated with greetings or feelings of celebration.  These are all acceptable forms of communication.  When examining the love language of physical touch, the person whose primary language is physical touch is generally more responsive to the physical contact that is received in conjunction with either verbal and/or non-verbal communication.  In fact, physical touch and words of affirmation may rank very highly together as love languages for the same individual because of that person’s sensitivity to all types of communication.

In more intimate relationships, the person sensitive to touch is highly receptive and responsive to sensations such as a kind hand to the arm or shoulder, or an arm around the waist, and even holding hands while walking or standing quietly.  All of these more intimate gestures reflect a sense of excitement, comfort, care, concern, and love, depending upon the circumstance or situation.  The level of comfort between the two persons that participate in physical touch is important because such actions would be perceived as strange and unwanted in relationships that are, for example, more professional or friend-like than personal.  Physical touch does have rather distinct boundaries associated with the type of relationship.

Physical touch is a wonderful love language that expresses love between two people.  All physical contact, however, is not good, especially when it is characterized as physical abuse.  It is not hard to understand why physical abuse is so destructive in a relationship.  In the same way that positive physical contact has an emotional connection and a bond between its participants, the physical abuse also has a profound emotional effect on the recipient of the abuse.  Neglect is another form of abuse, except it is non-physical in nature.  The neglect of a person who relishes in positive physical touch is also emotionally, and even psychologically damaging.  This will typically occur in relationships where two people are communicating poorly or hardly at all, especially if one of the persons involved is often away from home.

In a relationship where there has been emotional damage, there must be guarded physical contact between the persons involved.  Physical gestures such as hugging or touches on the arm or hand are not received in the same way when the recipient is damaged emotionally.  While physical touch may still be the person’s primary love language, the emotional baggage that has accumulated over time may overwhelm the welcome tactile sensation of touch.  It will take a lot of time and effort to heal and recover through such a period, and it will require patience of both persons involved in the recovery.

You can see how physical touch has a profound effect on the emotional health of a relationship.  As we noted earlier, we are all sensory people and we respond to physical touch in different ways that are inherent to our individual personalities.  Take the time now to recall instances where a reassuring hand or a hug were very timely, or make notes as to what you are most responsive to when it comes to physical touch.

Conclusion

Now that you have a greater appreciation for the love languages and their role in interpersonal relationships, we hope that you will be mindful of how we can sometimes speak different love languages, but we can still be multilingual in our communication with our loved ones if we are sensitive to their needs.  It requires a sense of love and selfless behavior to be an effective communicator, and that love will last well beyond the initial emotional rush of a new relationship.

We hope that you sincerely enjoyed this weekend’s seminar, and we look forward to seeing you down the road!

Thank you!

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. For more content, please see melvingaines.com and melvingaines.blogspot.com.