The second reality in Experiencing God is that God pursues a continual love relationship with you that is real and personal. The pastor asked a difficult question in staff meeting this week. “How does it make you feel to have God pursue you in this love relationship?”
Different people will respond differently for a variety of reasons:
- Introverts vs. Extroverts
- Feelers vs. Thinkers
- Men vs. Women
- Adult vs. Child
- Depending on a person’s love language
Extroverts will tend to enjoy relationships in the “getting together” and conversation, whereas an introvert recharges in peace/solitude rather than surrounded by people. So, when God pursues the introvert, there may be a sense of “stalking” when one needs space. Love is there, but it can get crowded at times.
Feelers experience the emotion and warmth of the relationship, whereas a thinker knows one is loved outside of a feeling. Experiencing love is not based on how one feels but the truth and fact that one is loved (likely based upon one’s particular love language).
Men know what it is like to love another man like a brother, but the language of Jesus (another guy) pursuing us in a love relationship is fairly uncomfortable, whereas there is a trend for single women to view their relationship with Christ as “dating” him, being quite secure in their singleness. For men, the fact that believers (the church) are the bride of Christ doesn’t bring a comfortable image although we understand the concept.
Adults and children understand love quite differently in the fact that most kids accept and give love based upon the fact and reality that they are loved (by parents and others, unconditionally), whereas adults know what it is like to pursue and be pursued by a potential mate (and have people put conditions on their love).
Then there is the interesting fact about one’s love language. These love languages are:
To put this simply, in order to FEEL loved, a person must receive love based upon their own personal love language. If your language is receiving gifts and your mate is giving you quality time, you will not FEEL loved and your mate will not understand why. It is also interesting that we will often GIVE love the way we would like to RECEIVE love. Learn more about the 5 Love Languages, and actually take an inventory to discover YOUR love language. It is important to know this information because your primary goal in a relationship is to understand THE OTHER PERSON’S love language… and speak it to them, as uncomfortable as it may seem to you.
So, what does this have to do with God? Imagine if God pursues a love relationship the same way for every person. Some will feel God’s love while others won’t. As a male, introvert whose love language is acts of service, I feel loved by God in the fact that Christ died for me (Romans 5:8) and promised never to leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I don’t prefer the “love relationship” language, or the image of Jesus wrapping his arms of love around me, or the language and imagery of the consummation of the church when the Bridegroom returns.
So, the pastor’s question is a good one: how do YOU feel loved by God or how do YOU feel about God pursuing you with a love relationship?