How do we know love? If that is a question you’re dealing with, you’ll be happy to know that John gives an answer. He says you can know and identify Jesus’ love by his sacrificial actions. That’s a pretty amazing statement in itself, but he continues and says, because Jesus did it, we should lay down our lives for the brothers. Am I supposed to “die on a cross” like Jesus did to demonstrate my love for others? Maybe. I’ll bet you weren’t waiting for that answer. The truth is there might be a time in the future when the culture we live in begins to mirror that of the First Century. I might become a more literal picture of 1 John. We know that in some countries even today, the persecution of the church is common.
Church history is full of examples of Christians who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the church. So, sacrifice for others is legit. But, laying down your life also means laying down your rights for others, especially your spouse. Gary Chapman wrote “The Five Love Languages” back in 1992. It has been updated four times. He discusses five ways to express and experience love called the “love languages”: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. To discover another person’s love language, it’s important to observe the way they express love to others, and what they request from others most often.
This is true in all relationships, but he focuses on marriage and parenting. People tend to give love in the way that they prefer to receive love. You will be a better communicator and lover of others when you demonstrate love to the other person in the love language they understand. This makes sense and in reality, it works. Figure out how you can best express the love of Jesus to others using the vehicle they understand. You’ll find an amazing difference in your relationships.