The third love language is the blind man’s testimonial approach. This is an approach that is natural for people who like to share how God has changed their life. It’s just down to earth, honestly telling someone, “This is what God did in me, this is how my life is currently changing, here’s some of the honest struggles.” You’re willing to be vulnerable.
It’s just sharing what you’ve seen, what you’ve heard, and what you’ve experienced. I get this from John 9. The story is about Jesus and the disciples, and they’re walking along, and as they’re walking along there is a man who has been blind from birth, and the disciples, with their presuppositions and faulty theology, say, “Jesus, could you tell us. Is this man blind because of his sin or the sin of his parents?”
Presuming that anytime something bad happens to someone it must be because of their sin and Jesus goes, “Wrong presupposition. Neither. God actually has a plan for this man for His glory.” And you can read the story. It’s one I don’t hardly want to, it’s like a great movie I don’t want to spoil it for you. But he takes mud and puts it on his eyes, and tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.
And this man, imagine, when he was a little boy, he’s blind. And he becomes a beggar, he can’t get a job, and now he’s been at the same corner forever, and ever, and ever and everyone has seen him in the whole town.
And now he can see. And people, I mean, he can see. Could this be the same guy? And then the Pharisees, the religious leaders, learn about him and they go, “Whoa, wait a second. Are you the same guy?” “Yes, I am.”
And so they don’t believe him, so they ask his parents, and his parents are so afraid they’re going to get kicked out of the synagogue, they say, “Well, you know what? He’s of age. Ask him.”
And they say, “Well, we know this Jesus is a sinner, and how can you say…” And this guy, this is great. Non-educated, beggar speaking to the intellects of his day, “All I know, sirs, is I was blind but now I see.” Whether he’s a sinner or not, I don’t know. It just would seem to me that no one could give eyes and seeing to the blind unless God was with him.
You know what? Your testimony is irrefutable. No one can tell you you have not had the experiences that you’ve had. And just to say to people, you know, you don’t have to have all the apologetics, you don’t have to be able to articulate everything. But in a short conversation, in a medium conversation, you can just share, “This is my story.”
How many people in your relational network that you pass by, or you work with, or you see as you take a walk with the dog, or, you know, when you’re sitting there while the kids are playing baseball or soccer, or you’re on the elliptical or something at the gym, and you’ve kind of built a relationship.
How many of them have never, ever heard of the Jesus who you know, who saved you, and loved you, and has forgiven you and… Maybe the testimonial approach is how you could share it.
One, “I could never imagine myself telling anyone my story.” Ten, “You know, there’s a lot of things I can’t do but I could probably do this one.” You got it? Write down a number.
The fourth spiritual love language is Matthew’s interpersonal approach. This approach is very similar to the testimonial approach but it’s those who naturally build longer-term relationships with people.
This is people that tend to be networkers in the business world. They tend to be people that have the gift of hospitality, or like to have people over, like to gather in groups and talk. You know, do barbeques and hang out with people and, “Hey! Why don’t we all go out to dinner together?” Those kind of people. It’s just interpersonal. It’s people that build relationships, and you want to go deeper. You like to get to know people at a deeper level.
And here, Matthew is a tax collector. And in Luke chapter 5 beginning at verse 29 what we find is, he obviously heard some messages. And God had been working in his heart and life, and one day Jesus walks by.
And now he’s despised. See he’s a Jew, and he’s working for the Roman government, and they were ripping people off. In fact, one of the evidences for how we know Matthew legitimately came to Christ, is that he paid back people that he’d been ripping off for years.
And so Matthew is thinking, “You know, how could I love the people? I mean, I’ve felt shame, I’ve felt rejection, I’ve felt the guilt of what I’ve done to all these people. And now I have peace, and I’ve got purpose, and Jesus is the Messiah.”
So what’s he do? He invites a bunch of his buddies over to dinner. He just invites them all over to dinner, a bunch of tax collectors and sinners. In fact so many that the Pharisees are all hacked off. How can Jesus eat with those people?
And you remember that line where Jesus says, “I didn’t come to heal the healthy. It’s the sick that need a physician.” And he just gathered the people, and gathering them together, people that would never probably go out anywhere to hear Jesus preach on a hill. They would never go to any religious institution.
But, I mean, everyone is up for a good meal. Everyone is up for hanging around. It’s just sort of the interpersonal approach.
Years ago, I lived in a neighborhood with a fellow named Dave who, someone if you say his name and you say, well, do you know him? And the answer, I, this was last week, someone said to me, “Who doesn’t?” I mean, he’s Mr. Network, network, network. He’s just a relational animal.
And he lives on a cul-de-sac where about eight or ten guys would mountain bike every Saturday morning. So he would get out and mountain bike over the mountains. And then he just had this, sort of, his front yard was always open and, “Hey! We’re having a barbeque!” He was a barbeque-aholic.
And so I was his neighbor, and he wanted to reach people for Christ, and he was not the confrontational guy. He was not necessarily, he could gather people together but he didn’t, wasn’t an apologist. And he didn’t have any big, intellectual answers. You know what he was good at? Getting people together.
And so he’d say, “Hey, I got a bunch of people from the neighborhood over. Would you mind just dropping by and just having a, you know, glass of tea, a cup of coffee, whatever.”
And I said, “Well Dave, I’ve got…” “It’s, Chip, it’s thirty minutes. I mean whatever. Come on. You know? You’re seven doors down or, you know?” And so I would go and in the backyard he’d have, like maybe, two or three tables and all of his neighbors. “Oh! Bring in the kids!” It didn’t matter. It was just like food.
And so he would pull out a chair and say, “Hey, I just want you to know, yeah, Chip’s my friend. In fact he’s my pastor. I go to church where he goes. And this is so and so from something-tronics. Here’s so and so from other-tronics. Here’s from other, other, other-tronics.” You know?
And it was his world. And he goes, “You know what? If you’ve ever had questions about God or Christianity he’d love to talk to you.” He’d sit me down, goes, “I’ll see you later!” And he’d leave! And all of a sudden, in a safe environment, these people are asking me all this stuff.
And it was like twenty or twenty-five, thirty minutes, you know, I’m thinking, I’m actually really enjoying it, right? Because I like to do that. And so I’m thinking, well, the time…
And David would come by, “Excuse me, guys. You know, you guys can talk to him a little bit later. Excuse me, there. Can you come over to this other table.” And he’d, “Excuse me. There’s a chair right over there.” He’d get that and go, “Hey! This…” And he did the same thing! Could that be you? Could that be you?
Maybe on a smaller scale. Could you build interpersonal relationships? Could you invite some people over? Could you throw some hamburgers on the grill, and just open up, and love people, and find out what’s going on in their life? Ask them about their story?
Maybe, a lot of these go together, maybe you do that and you end up sharing your testimony. Or maybe they start asking really, really hard questions and you go, “Oh no. What do I do now?”
You say, “You know something?” - here’s my answer to all the hard questions – “That is a really good question. That’s a deep one. Could I get back with you on that? I don’t know the answer to that.”
Most of everything I’ve ever learned, despite all the schooling I had to go to, came from questions I didn’t know how to answer, and then going and doing some research, and saying, “Lord, I know You have an answer but will You show me?”
What grew out of that for me was a series called Why I Believe. And it’s my journey in apologetics. Why I believe in the Bible. Can you really believe it’s true? Why I believe in Jesus. Why I believe in Life After Death. Why I believe in the God of the Bible versus other gods.
And this became, believe it or not, the number one selling CD, and now DVD, of anything we’ve ever done at Living on the Edge. It’s not on marriage, it’s not on parenting, it’s not on loneliness. There is a thirst.
I actually have a friend who is a physical therapist, who just keeps stacks of these and he does all the Diamond Backs, and the Giants, and the Cardinals there in Phoenix. And then as he talks, in rehabs, over and over, he said, “You know have you ever considered…?” “Well, I don’t know, what about this, what about that?” He says, “Here, just listen to this. It’s like a, kind of, take-out.”
And it’s amazing the number of pro players who have come to Christ. People are open! God has reasonable answers.
You don’t have to have it all together but, you know what? You invite them over, you build relationships, you share your story. You know, you give them somebody else’s book, or a CD there, and you just love them. This is about sharing the love.
What would happen? I mean, what would happen if just walking out these doors, this day, every one of us said, “My top one or two is this and I’m going to act on it this week.” And we just start sharing the love. We know they’re open. We know God loves them. We know the Spirit will draw them.
See, what God is looking for is the bridge to get built and that’s us. We are His ambassadors. But we gotta get off of how we think, and what we think we can’t do, and get our hearts concerned about what God really is concerned about.
The next is the number five love language. It’s Dorcas’ service approach. This is Acts chapter 9. These are people that expressed their faith and love for people by meeting needs. They don’t want any credit. They don’t like the limelight.
This is an approach where often people are doing things like, very tangible things like feeding the poor, getting clean drinking water around the world, finding desperate needs. This is the lady that’s going through a divorce and this is the person who says, “Let me take care of your kids while you’re doing that right now.”
This is someone that, if a daughter or a son gets in an auto wreck, they’re the first one that delivers food. They just love. They just see needs and they serve and, you know what? They’re not real verbal and they’re not the people that, you know, would be super outspoken. But they just love and care, and love and care, and meet needs to the point where people ask, “So, why are you doing this?”
Sometimes this occurs because out of our hurts and needs God loves us, and then we realize we want to pass it on. See, here’s what I can tell you. There are different love languages.
For some of us that feel like, honestly, standing up and talking to a group of people or debating them, if you will, in a loving manner is, “I could never do that.” Those same people that have those verbal skills, I will guarantee you, most of them and I’ll start with me, could never do what they’re doing.
I can’t imagine the patience, and the love, and the sacrifice to help all those special needs people, giving up a week of vacation. Are you starting to see? God has made you, He has made you different. But there’s a love language but there’s got to be something in here that you care and there’s got to be a partaking of His love in you so that you say, “I’ve got to pass it. I’ve got to be a bridge.”
The strength of that is power, there’s such power when people see love. The weakness, or the danger, is that we just think serving is enough. There is never an either/or. It’s not what we do and it’s not just what we say. It’s what we do and what we say together, authenticating the message, and living it out.
Some of us will be more into the what we say. Others will be better in what we do. But as a team together and individually we grow so we clearly articulate and love people. The ones He puts in your path.
The sixth spiritual love language is the Samaritan woman’s invitational approach. This may be the easiest and the one for all of us to start with.
This lady does this when she’s a Christian for after only a few minutes. It’s John chapter 4. The scene is that Jesus is tired and He stops by a well. And so He’s resting as the disciples went to grab some lunch. And they’re going to bring it back.
It’s the time of the day, it’s the heat of the day, and everyone is down. No one goes out of the town but the women of the village have already gotten their water and this woman comes out later because she is a socially alienated person with deep shame and rejection. She’s living with a man, she’s had five marriages.
Who knows whose fault it was, what she’s been through. But she’s ostracized. She’s unlovable. She has a moral, checkered past. And so she’s out here by herself at the only time where she won’t experience the pain of that rejection. And here’s a man speaking to a woman, culturally unacceptable. It’s worse. It’s a Jew speaking to a Samaritan. Culturally unacceptable.
And what He tells this woman is is that there is grace available, there’s living water. There’s a God that loves you and He doesn’t look at your past, and He’s made provision for you, and He reveals that He’s the hope of the world and He’s the Messiah.
And she’s honest about her hurts and she accepts His forgiveness. And so she goes back to the town where everyone rejects her and she says, “Hey, everybody! I’ve got to tell you! A man I just met, a prophet, the Messiah, He told me everything about my life. You’ve got to come listen to Him!”
And all she does is invite them! And the whole town comes out. And the whole town comes out and they say, “You know, we initially believed and came because of your testimony but now, after two days, we now understand He is the Savior of the world.” It’s the invitational approach.
Can you say to yourself, “I could do that.” Now for you outgoing people it would be like, “Oh this is a no-brainer.” For some of us that are less outgoing you can say, “Well, this would be…” But everybody comes and responds to anything based on relationship, not personality. Right?
“Hey, you ought to go to this restaurant. Well, you ought to come check this out. You ought to go watch this movie.” It’s based on your relationship.
So really the reason we don’t is often our fear of rejection. But there’s people that respect what you think, they respect how you live, and they’re waiting for an invitation.
The strength here is that everyone can do it. The weakness is we want to make sure that we don’t develop a culture where we always have to bring someone somewhere and not keep learning, and growing so that when they turn to you and say, “You know what? This Jesus that you talk about so much, would you explain to me how I could have a relationship with Him?”
My dream is that every one of us, over time, would get where we could say, “You know something? It’s really pretty simple.” And you can clearly explain how to have eternal life to another person.
The final one is what I call the creative arts approach. This concept is cultivating your ability in music, or art, or drama, or dance, or sports, or photography, or business. But it’s something where you can connect to the culture as a means to express and communicate the gospel in a culturally relevant manner.
This sort of takes I Corinthians 10:31 very literally, which says, “Whatever you do,” that’s pretty broad, right? “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.”
This is where Handel found himself locked in a room and people were fearful of what was happening inside this room where, for days, day and night he wrote Handel’s Messiah.
This is where Rembrandt, if you’ve ever been there or had the privilege of being in Russia at the Hermitage and walking right up to this huge portrait of the Prodigal. And he uses his artistic ability and the picture in the father’s eyes and the son and that message of Luke 15.
This is a friend of mine that he said, “You know what? I mean, I’m not artistic, I don’t use photography, I’m just good in business. I know how it works and I’ve made a lot of money. I like to give a lot of money away. But I mentor young guys, and I pull people together, and I want to share. And I tell them, ‘These are the biblical principles that make business run. Here’s how you manage people well. My business belongs to God. Here’s…’”
And it’s so counter-intuitive and then they look at, “Well, man, it’s working for him. And he gives God the credit.
What is it that you do that you’re gifted at that it’s a hobby that you love that could be a bridge? Sports, or photography, or art, or dance. And you say, “I want to do this for the glory of God. And I’m going to build relationships with people, and mentor them on computer, or help students learn.”
Are you beginning to see there’s many, many ways, love languages. Maybe there’s one or two, they work together.
So where do we go from here? Where do you have the highest numbers? The goal is not, if we leave here and you say, “You know what? I think the testimonial approach, invitational approach, that’s me. Oh good.” It’s not good unless you say, “Okay, now, this week who could I share my story with?”