Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Back to My First Love

Revelation 2 warns us: "But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent" (v. 4-5, emphasis added).

Let's talk about the word "abandoned." The Greek word for this here is "afihmi", which means to leave or depart from something. This shows very clearly that when we grow away from the Lord, we are the ones responsible for that. There are several different reasons why this may occur, but I believe a prominent one today is that we allow our faith to be overcome by stringent obligation. Our faith should be comprised of an intimate relationship with God, but it should never become a compulsory to-do list. My prayer is that may it be far from us to become like the Pharisees...

Paul teaches us in Galatians 5:2 that if we do live this way, Christ will be of no advantage to us. Did you get that? When we live by legalism, we don't live by Christ. When our walk with the Lord becomes a binding march, we lose the love we had at first: the pure and sweet love of our Savior. There is nothing better! 

But when I take a step back and examine myself (2 Corinthians 13:5), I have to ask myself if I've abandoned my first love. And the fact that I have to even question myself is a red flag for me. The last thing I want is to let my "faith" get in the way of my faith. 

About a year and a half ago, when Jesus changed my life, I was passionate about getting to know Him. I wanted to learn everything that I possibly could--I sought it out & I soaked it up...but never out of obligation. It was always out of pure desire. Don't get me wrong...I still love Jesus and I am passionate about Him. But has my sponge ran dry? Maybe. I don't want to be like Martha, who was so busy trying to please Jesus that she didn't even have time to spend with Him. It's a sad story, but I am guilty of being her sometimes.

Are you ready for the beautiful thing out of all this?

Our Savior is more interested in who we are that what we do.

We can look successful on the outside. We can appear as if we have it all together. We can appear as if we are a modern-day hero of the faith. But in reality, Jesus has never even cared about that. We have all heard it said that the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), but that goes deeper than we might care to acknowledge.
The fix for this is simple: go to the Lord. Each person's prescription will look different, so listen to Him and find where He is leading you. Pray for wisdom (James 1:5) and discernment. I know that it's easy for our mindset to become performance-based instead of grounded in adoration, but please know this: God will never point out a problem without revealing or guiding toward a solution (He doesn't forsake us). 

Make your love for Him trump your labor for Him.

It's time to get out of the rut of routine. It's time to seek out holy amity. I read somewhere recently that sometimes we don't make it where we are going because we tend to look at how far we have left to go instead of looking at how far we have come. John tells us in the Revelation passage above to remember this. He says, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen." Then we must repent and return to the works we did at first. This doesn't necessarily mean more labor; it just means a return to the basics of faith. Pertinent examples that stick out to me are simply prayer and Bible reading--remember: out of desire, not obligation. Other examples may include fellowship, Scripture memorization, or anything else that nourishes your relationship with Christ.

And for the last part, which is a warning about the removal of the lampstand, I take this to be a personal caution. If we abandon the Lord, we can no longer bear His light. I don't know about you, but I want to bear His light in all that I do. I don't want my light bulb to be dim or flickering. I want to shine bright. When others look at me, I want them to see Jesus more than they see Morgan. I am going to be intentional about energizing my faith and reactivating my love and delighting in the Lord. 

I'm going back to my first love.

Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord, "I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness in a land not sown." Jeremiah 2:2 

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