Friday, 30 August 2013

Don't lose that 'First Love'

Recently, it dawned on me that my faith flame had been dimming for quite a while. Having had one of the hardest years spiritually, it was no surprise to me that my relationship with God felt far from passionate - it was empty religiosity and dutiful worship that consumed my time rather than the awe-struck wonder with which I used to gaze at the Cross. I realised that I lost my 'First Love' - I was letting myself grow out of love for the Savior. Some thing had to be done, fast!

When married couples complain about growing out of love, what do they mean?
The fire or passion with which they loved each other initially, dimmed - it did not die, but the 'dimming' felt like 'death'.

While our relationship with the Savior is similar, it differs in one way - God never stops loving us with the passion with which He loved us first; the love that brought Him to earth and took Him to the Cross is an unfathomable, unchanging, ever-exuberant love. If friction develops in our relationship with Him, we alone are to blame!

In moments such as this, one can choose to give up assuming the love is dead or, one can choose to make an effort to reignite the passion that once robbed their heart. I am glad that I chose the latter!

God understands that often we can be a Martha - busily trying to serve the Lord 'correctly' and forget to remain at His feet. Thankfully, He gives us the remedy in Revelation 2:1-7.
The Ephesian Church the apostle John was writing to, faced pretty much the same problem. They worked hard for the progression of the Gospel and to eliminate false teachers, they ensured their lives were embellished with good deeds, they persevered through trials and were even intolerant to sin. While this sounds like the resume of the 'perfect Christian' (if there ever could be one!), God said, 'Yet I hold this against you, you have forsaken your first love.' This implies that it doesn't matter what we do but why we do it; it doesn't matter how we start but how we finish.

God's two-step solution soon follows, 'Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.'

1. Reflection
Take some time to pause, think and make a note of what you did and how you did it at the start of your journey with the Saviour.
For me this meant things like longer quiet times, reading more Christian literature, praying often, enthusiastically evangelising (not with fear or out of compulsion).etc.
It's not that I had stopped doing the things above, but somehow now it felt like A LOT of effort. I started off doing them because I wanted to but ended up doing them because I had to!

2. Repent and do the things you did at first
What does He mean? It took me a while to realise that this command consists of two parts...
'Repent' - this is at the heart level. We need to place God at the centre of our lives again, this can only be achieved through confession and prayer.
'...and do the things you did at first' - If we truly repent, this will automatically follow! You'll effortlessly want to delve deeper in love with the Saviour, hence serve Him wholeheartedly!

Losing our 'first love' is equivalent to letting ourselves be overcome by apathy. If you find yourself in such a position, I plead you to give it your all to get that love back. Reading the passage in Revelation shows us that this loss comes with a repercussion - God warns the Ephesian Church that their lampstand will be taken away, meaning they will eventually burn out of faith and no longer be lit for the Saviour. What a shame that would be after a wonderful start, knowing what the Saviour did and yet be doomed for all eternity! However, take heart, for if we overcome this apathy, He promises that we shall partake in what is rightfully ours through His blood.

Don't lose that first love!