MY FIRST LOVE
2012 Lenten Preparation
4 - Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
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BlogFam, I know that Valentine’s Day has just passed, but I do have a question about the Valentines you have had in your past. I do not want to know about all of them, just about one of them. Do you remember your first love? Do you remember your FIRST boyfriend or girlfriend? Do you remember the first person you really liked and enjoyed getting to know better? I do. I remember the first boy I liked. His name was Walter. He was my first Valentine to the extent that Kindergarteners can have Valentines. (LOL!)
I honestly do not remember much about what I liked about Walter but I remember that we were in the same Kindergarten class and we would sit next to each other and please do not tell my mama, but we would hold hands and that was it. I promise. That was our “relationship.” I do not remember anything outside of what happened in our Kindergarten class but I do remember that he liked me and I liked him and to our 6 year old hearts, that was something special.
Walter was my first love but I am very clear that Walter was not the first person who loved me. Even before my birth and conception, there was someone who loved me before the world had a clue I was coming. God loved me FIRST. God is my first true love. God loved me before I even knew to love God back. That is true love.
Now, I have no idea where Walter is or whatever happened to him after Kindergarten because we were in different classes in first grade and then I moved in second grade. We obviously never kept in touch and to be honest with you, I do not even remember Walter’s last name! BUT this is not the case with our God! God knows everything there is to know about you. There are no secrets. You cannot hide anything from the Omniscient One. God knows every shift and transition, rise and fall, break-up and breakthrough that concerns you. I did not have that with Walter but I have that and so much more with God.
In our text for today, the indictment against the church at Ephesus can be one that many of us can find ourselves guilty of –
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
Friends, I think it is interesting that in the previous verses, the church seems to have it all together.
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
They seem to have their priorities straight and they seem to be doing the activities that would please the Lord. However, our focal verse makes it clear that activities - even if they are done in the name of God or under the guise of Christianity - are not enough if your heart is far from God. In other words, you may lead every committee, direct every song, pray every prayer, teach every class, but if your heart is not in the place where God is the center and if God is not your FIRST love, then you are guilty of this same indictment. I know you love your family and I know you love your church but if your first love is NOT God, then you are guilty of this same indictment. I know you work hard and I know you have endured a lot, but if your first love is NOT God, then you are guilty of this indictment. My sistas and brothas, it is time for us to return to our first love.
On this eve of Lent, a season in the Christian calendar when we are called to return to our first love, I pray that you would reignite your passion for the Almighty in your heart. I pray that during this season, you would make a concentrated effort to return to your first love. Do you realize that there are some feelings and internal struggles you are experiencing because your heart is homesick? Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Friends, your heart is longing for rest in God. Your heart is longing for the kind of care that only God can give. You heart is longing for the One who can make all things new.
God loves you. God loved you first. God will love you forever. It is time for you to stop doing the things to prove to others that you are faithful especially since, the Lord God knows the true condition of your heart. Your heart is homesick and you can never DO enough to make things better inside your heart if you do not love God with your whole heart first. This was the message to the church at Ephesus and it is the message to us on today. While you may be “busy” doing good work in your home, your church or in your community - Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
BlogFam, it is time to return to our FIRST LOVE. I pray that during this season of Lent, you would recommit yourself to what it means to fulfill the greatest commandment - “‘LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [Matthew 22:37-40] I pray that you would not be guilty of being busy but not effective because your heart is not right with God. I pray that you would ask the Lord God to show you the true condition of your own heart and that you would receive God’s grace to forgive and to heal. I pray that you would return to the One who loved you first without hesitation or reservation and that you would embrace a fresh, new, and exciting revelation of God’s magnificent LOVE! And I pray that you would LOVE God with your everything in return.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Black History Month – Quote of the Day:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -Martin Luther King, Jr.
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