To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 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. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:1-4)
Look at this list of good things:
- hard work,
- intolerance of wickedness,
- testing messages for falsehood,
- enduring and not growing weary.
Wow! What a list.
Okay, so this part is hard to type because it might sound like I am bragging, but I am not. I can check off this list. I am not saying I excel at them all, but all who know me would say I work hard, care about truth and don’t give up easily. But then there is the verse at the end, and I can’t ignore it. In fact, it frightens me a bit:
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:4)
As Valentine’s day fast approaches, it is the perfect topic to consider…whether or not we have lost the love we had at first for God.
I think I have lost some of the love I had at first.
In college, my dorm door was located at the end of the hallway in a five-foot deep inset. I used to get up in the middle of the night, sit outside in a V formation with my back against one wall and my legs up on another…and I prayed for extended periods of time.
I prayed from my heart.
I didn’t have the journals, notebooks and lists that I have now to jog my memory. I remember praying fervently for the globe, all aspects of my life, my future family, my influence for Jesus in the world. I remember praying for every Christian on the globe and every person on my dorm floor.
Today, decades later,
some of that love that made me pray like that has dissipated.
And I am sad.
And I am a bit scared. After all, losing my first love is an issue with my God even when I am working hard, persevering and testing for falsehood.
I remember something else about college too. Those were dating years that included more mature love than in high school years. Those were young love years with the pitter-patter heartbeats of first authentic love relationships. After college, I still remember the pitter-patter heartbeats that occurred when my now husband first called me “sweetheart” in a note.
Does my heart pitter-patter for God anymore?
Is there delight at the thought of curling up in my big office chair to talk with Him in prayer and read my Bible? Am I rolling out of bed in the middle of the night anymore because I want to be with God, because I can’t contain my desire to hand Him my dreams for His glory to be manifested in me and around the world?
I asked for my first love again. Yup, I just went ahead and asked God to give it back.
And something is stirring again. This week I found myself praying over my globe that has always been in sight of my devotional chair. I found myself praying over the neighborhood this week…like the old Laurie used to do.
Some pitter-patter is coming back. Some desire. Some moments of, “I have so much going on in me I have to tell Jesus!”
If you have lost some of the love you had for God at first, just ask Him to woo you again.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.
Picture Explanation: As people in the world buy more roses this week than any other week of the year, I prefer backyard flowers every week of the year, even this one.
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