You have left your first love
Like any other deep relationship in our lives, our relationship with God must be nurtured if we want it to be meaningful. Like a fire that must be tended or else it goes out, our relationship with God requires our full attention in order to keep the flame of love burning bright. However, like many of the most important things in our lives, our relationship with God is often taken for granted. As Christians, we often start with a roaring fire in our heart for Christ, but as time goes by, the flame begins to flicker and smolder until our heart grows cold and we drift away from our first love.
Have you left your first love? Has the flame of Christ gone out in your heart? Each of us can forsake our first love in a multitude of ways, but the root is always the same. We forget that God has said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) We forget that our relationship with God is to be above all other relationships and all other pursuits, no matter how worthy they may seem. Many Christians depart from Christ by conflating the mission of God with politics, thereby replacing Christ with Caesar. Other Christians become so enamored with the pleasures and false doctrines of this world, that they begin to interpret the Bible through the lens of culture and replace Christ with self. And yet, other Christians depart from Christ while serving him, forgetting that the service of God is not God himself and that being surrounded by the things of God does not guarantee his intimacy. Many learned Christians read great literary works about Christ and his Church but tragically drift away from him in the tides of intellectualism. By replacing piety with scholarship, they lose their bearings and their hearts grow distant from Christ.
Have you left your first love? You may have been to Bible college, you may have been to seminary, you may have been very devout in the past, but where are you now? Where does your heart stand before Christ at this moment? You cannot point to the past and claim it as your security. You cannot ride on the coattails of some past accomplishments. Nothing in your past allows you to forsake your first love today. If you are wandering far from Christ, the time to return is now. There is no security in wandering further.
If you have left your first love, the path of your return is laid out plainly in the Bible. You must remember, repent, and do the first works. (Revelation 2:5) Remember the way your heart first leaped at the sound of the Master’s voice, when he called you out of darkness into his glorious light. Remember the rapture you felt when you first heard the preaching of God’s holy word. Remember the way you used to sing to Jesus with tears in your eyes and a heart full of wonder. Remember Jesus, your first love, and repent.
Repent of all the things, people, and pursuits that have taken his place. Repent and do the things you once did when your love for Christ was fresh and new. Repent and do the first works with a desire to know Jesus more and to serve him better. Read his word again, but not as an expert, rather read it as a grateful beggar who has been invited to the feast of the King. Pray to Christ again, but not with drudgery or servile fear, rather pray to Christ as one who speaks to his dearest and most trusted friend. Stoke the flame of your relationship with God, knowing that his love for you has no bounds. Rekindle the flame of Christ in your heart, knowing that Jesus is the true lover of your soul. Return to the Lord, and he will return to you.
May the love of Christ be with you always.