Bride of Christ, there is nothing more important in life than our relationship with our Beloved! Absolutely nothing! As I observe the Church in her present state, it appears many have left their first love and taken up other loves, pleasures, and time consuming activities which have pulled them away from giving the Lord first place in their hearts and lives. Sadly, many in the Church have hearts that have grown cold and complacent in their relationship with their Beloved.
In Revelation Chapter 2, Jesus addresses the Church at Ephesus - a Church who has left her first love. Jesus begins His dissertation by commending the Church at Ephesus:" I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked [men] and have tested and critically appraised those who call [themselves] apostles (special messengers of Christ) and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors and liars. I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name's sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary" (2:2,3). As we consider this Church, we discover that the members are actively involved in works, service, and ministry. This congregation bears up patiently, perseveres without complaining about their burdens and problems. They toil without fainting, are unswerving in their allegiance to the Lord, and they refuse to be deceived by doctrinal error.
This sounds like a dream Church. However, Jesus continues with a harsh rebuke: "But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love] " (2:4). Do you hear the heartbeat, the cry of our precious Lord? He has an indescribable longing, yes, even a deep yearning to be the first love and primary pursuit of His Bride. He passionately desires for His Bride to hunger and thirst after Him; to draw away from the things of this life and spend quality time with Him. Our Beloved will never be satisfied with second or third place in our hearts. Our precious Lord will settle for nothing less from His glorious Bride than to be her first love!
We need to be ever mindful that labor for the Lord and persevering through trials, although important, are not substitutes for love. No amount of work/service and ministry will compensate for neglecting our precious Lord. Serving Him is simply performance or showmanship if intimacy is lacking in our relationship with Him. Our Beloved is not impressed with how successful we appear to be. It is our fervent love and intense passion for Him that touches and moves His heart.
Jesus exhorted the church at Ephesus, "Remember the height from which you are fallen" (2:5). The height Jesus is referring to is the highest place in our walk with Him which is making Him our first love. Understand this: No one purposely lets their love for Jesus fall back to a secondary love. But it happens! Life keeps us busy. Too busy. Over time, the distractions of things and the pleasures of this world, combined with the cares and responsibilities of this life, crowd our hearts and steal our time and attention. As we become entangled with the affairs of life, our spiritual receptivity becomes dull and we lose our passion for Jesus. Many times this happens so gradually that we are not even aware that it is happening. How it behooves us to periodically evaluate the intensity of our passion for our precious Lord and if it has grown cold, we must return back to our first love - a love that transcends all other loves, affections and desires and fall in with our Beloved all over again!
REKINDLING THE PASSION
There is perhaps nothing more exciting than the passion in the heart of a person in love. Our Beloved Lord desires desperately to have the flame of passion rekindled in those who have fallen away from first love status. Let me to share with you some suggestions if your love for Jesus has grown cold and you desire to rekindle your love for your Beloved and make Him your first love once again: REMEMBER the relationship you once enjoyed with your Lord - the precious moments you spent communing with Him. REPENT for allowing other things to become your highest priority and commit to making the necessary changes. RECOMMIT to rekindling your flame of love. Sit in the Lord's presence and allow your heart to be moved in love toward Him. Behold His beauty and worship Him. RISE UP and set the whole of your affections on your Beloved and follow after Him with reckless abandon. Cry out from the depths of your heart: "Lord, I love You. You are my greatest and highest desire!" Understand, you will have to make the choice to set your heart on following hard after God. No one else can do this for you. It will be your choice, and yours alone, to rekindle the passion that you once had for Jesus. Oh, but let me tell you, there is no higher way of living than being in a passionate first love relationship with Jesus!
The choices you make for Jesus stir Him more than you could ever imagine. In Song of Solomon 4:6, we find that one glance of our eyes ravishes His heart. How much more affected do you think He is with someone who loves Him with their whole being? Every movement of your heart is precious to Him. He knows every intention you have for Him. He sees the cries and longings of your heart for intimacy with Him. Consider this: Forever the Lord will remember the choices you made for Him - the choices to seek after Him, to passionately love Him, and to spend quality time with Him. He remembers every moment you have chosen to spend with Him. Yes, He remembers all those nights you chose to get out of bed at three or four in the morning to spend with Him. He remembers the shopping trips you set aside in order to get alone with Him. He also remembers the times you spent seeking Him that seemed to you to be fruitless and empty. Even though you may not have sensed His presence, He was there, knowing you desired to be with Him.
Always remember: the greatest thing that we, His glorious Bride, can do for our Beloved is to keep Him our first love!