(In my last post, I wrote a little about the Five Love Languages, as written about by Gary Chapman in The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. I explained how I found myself wondering if they apply to our relationship with God. This is the second of what turned out to be nine posts as I explored this topic.)
It just so happens that the first love language that Gary Chapman lists is one of mine, so I mistakenly thought that this would be the easiest one to find in the Bible. Boy was I wrong, though!
In fact, the more I looked and the more I dug, the more I realized that 99% of what God says about me in the Bible is completely dependent on several more fundamental beliefs that I hold as a Christian. I also have the feeling that these same beliefs are going to factor just as equally into the other four love languages as well.
I don’t want to get into deep theological discussions here–that’s not what this blog is for. Yet, I feel that I must at least touch on these fundamental beliefs. I simply cannot assume that every reader of this blog understands things the same way that I do. I can only share what I, personally, have come to believe.
I am listing four of these beliefs, and each one builds upon the one before it. If some of this is new to you, and you’re having trouble understanding what I mean, feel free to ask me, as long as you have an honest question and an open heart. The link with my email address is on the left.
I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Every. Single. Word. (Allowing only for differences that may happen during translation.) I believe that humans held the pen, but God, being all-powerful, made sure that the words that got written down and preserved were exactly the words that He meant for mankind to know. Therefore, scriptures that talk about us in a good way are words of affirmation, straight from the mouth of God. And if the Bible says something about us or God, it is God saying something about Himself and His creation. I hope you believe this, too…otherwise these posts aren’t going to do much for you.
I believe that God is omniscient. He cannot lie, and He always sees things the way they really are, without the deception and false perceptions that we humans have to work around. Not only that, whatever He says will happen, will happen, because He sees the future even more clearly than I see the past. The old saying “Hindsight is 20/20” isn’t true with God. With Him, both hindsight and foresight are 20/20. Therefore we can trust that every word He says as being 100% truth. And that includes prophecy, which will not fail, if it came from Him.
Why is this important? Well, I discovered that there are very few verses in the Bible that say, “You are ______.” However, the Bible is filled with verses about what we will become at some point that was still the future when that verse was penned–specifically prophecy for when Jesus was sent. That was future for the human writer, past for a God who has already seen everything that will happen, but present to us right now. Therefore, we can only claim the affirmation in that verse as our own if we believe that the promise in the verse applies to us.
That leads me to the next fundamental, which is the truth that in Christ, I am a new creation. Sometimes I talk about this by mentioning “who I am in Christ.” Many verses throughout the Bible talk about this concept of having a “new self.” It is difficult to know how to explain this, since I have no idea what religious background, Bible knowledge, life experiences, or personal beliefs those reading this blog have. But I will try.
Almost everyone knows that Christians believe that Jesus died to pay the price for the sins of mankind. Many people think that Christianity consists of merely accepting that gift…saying, “Thank you, Jesus, that You paid that price. I accept the gift.”
I, however, believe that Christianity is much more than that. It is also making Him your lord…giving Him your allegiance, in the same way that a knight swore to obey his lord’s commands, uphold his laws, etc. Along with that, a knight identified himself with his lord, wearing his colors and his crest. That’s what becoming a new creation is…identifying myself with Jesus Christ. It is saying that, because He took my place on the cross, His death was the death of the old-me-without-Jesus, and when He rose, that was the birth of the new-me-with-Jesus. (The fact that I wasn’t born yet makes no difference, since God does not operate on our timeline.)
This “new me” is a totally different person than the old me was, because this new me is based upon who Jesus is. A knight who serves the king can receive affirmation about being important because he works for the king, while a knight who serves a poor lord with a tiny decrepit castle isn’t going to get any of that. In the same way, the Bible is full of promises and affirmation for those who serve the King of Kings. This is also important because many of the words of affirmation that God speaks over us apply only to the new us. And I suppose it makes sense. If there were many things to praise about the old me, I wouldn’t have needed saving! (If you want to dig into this more, read Romans 6:3-11 and follow the cross-references.)
Finally, I believe that those who are in Christ can claim every promise given to Israel, even if they don’t have a drop of Jewish blood in their veins. Romans 3:22 says there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, because all have sinned. In chapter 4, we are told that Abraham is the father of all who believe without being circumcised (the physical sign of being an Israelite). Chapters 9, 10, and 11 go into this in even more depth, if you want to study this topic.
Then, Galatians 3 talks about this more, saying in verses 14, 28, & 29 that, “in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith… [for] there is neither Jew nor Greek… for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”
That means you and I, if we have chosen to identify ourselves with Jesus, can receive all of the best and greatest of God’s promises, attention, love, and gifts!
Words of Affirmation coming up next… click here.