words are cheap
by Zach Neese
So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today— to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul—then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.Deuteronomy 11:13–15 (NIV)
Have you ever heard someone say: “Words are cheap”? In a way, that’s true … especially when it comes to love. Because all love worth receiving is love worth demonstrating. Unexpressed love isn’t love at all.
God certainly thinks so. That’s why He demonstrated His love for us through the cross. He didn’t just tell us; He showed us His love.
In the same way, while true worship always begins with the motivation in our hearts, it never stays there. Our love must be expressed in order to be considered worship. And since 55% of all communication is body language, our actions actually do speak louder than our words.
So how do you demonstrate your adoration for God? How do you demonstrate worship?
My pastor, Robert Morris, defines worship as “love expressed.” That’s true, but since we tend to be great at finding loopholes, allow me to expand on that definition—worship is love expressed God’s way.
In his book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman states that we all tend to express and receive love in one of five different ways. These “love languages” are words of affirmation (saying nice things), quality time, receiving and giving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.
Now, I’m a pretty simple guy. I’m a lot like a puppy. If you want to make me happy, just talk nice to me and scratch my belly every now and then. My wife, on the other hand, is an enigma. She speaks all five love languages fluently. My challenge is to discover via observation, subtle clues, the alignment of the stars and much prayer and fasting which language she is speaking at which time.
Do you see the difficulty here? As a man, you might really feel loved if your wife buys you a fishing boat. But if you try to express your love for your wife by getting her a fishing boat, you’ll probably quickly discover she doesn’t see the love in it. Likewise, my wife got me a spa package as a gift once. It was very sweet of her, but I’m just not that guy. I have no idea why they call that thing they do to your fingers a manicure. I think it should be called a “womanicure.”
The point is, we often go amiss when we try to speak our own love language to express love to someone else. We have to learn to speak their love language.
Did you know there actually are some ways you may think you’re expressing love to God but He doesn’t see it as love. For instance, God doesn’t feel loved just because we sing Him a song that says we love Him. I know I wouldn’t feel loved if my wife picked up a Hallmark card, wrote her name on it and handed it to me in passing. I need more than empty Hallmark cards from my wife. So does God.
Fortunately, God speaks all five love languages. Words of affirmation? We Christians call that praise. Quality time? We call that quiet time—prayer, soaking in the Word and private worship. Receiving gifts? That’s tithes and offerings. And "acts of service" speaks for itself. And finally, there’s physical touch. We have a God who still wants to touch, comfort, heal and be near His people. He wants us to experience Him now—in our physical bodies—not just in some sweet by and by, airy-fairy, glorified future.
God wants to demonstrate His love to you physically—in the world you can touch. And He receives love when you demonstrate your love physically.
That’s who God is. He invented the love languages.
What great news! We have a God who receives love in all the same ways we do! Take some time today and consider all of the ways God has expressed His love for you. Then respond by expressing your love back to Him. I think you’ll discover your Father is waiting to share a rich, ever-deepening worship relationship with you.
Our entire being is fashioned as an instrument of praise. When we use body language to express praise, that which is internal becomes visible.Lamar Boschman
Father, I want to worship You in all of the love languages! I want to express my love to You in any way possible. Obedience, giving, prayer, lifting my hands and bowing before You are just a few ways I will worship You. You have expressed Your love for me in so many ways and I want to respond to You in return. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Read the verses in the “Further Study” section below, and notice how they all give examples of different ways to express love to God.
- Focus on a different expression every day and show the Lord that you love Him.
For Further Study
- Proverbs 3:9
- Psalm 95:1–7
- Psalm 119:10–12
- John 14:15–24
- Philippians 4:6–7
- read How to Worship a King by Zach Neese