An Invitation to Fall In Love Again - 09/01/14

Anyone who has been married for any length of time knows that the relationship between a husband and wife takes time, energy and attention. And it is generally accepted that one must “work” at keeping the marriage relationship vibrant, healthy and alive during the many seasons of life that a couple will experience. Daily times of uninterrupted communication where each is allowed to share their dreams, hopes and desires are considered essential, along with weekly date nights, weekends away and periodically, a marriage retreat or seminar. It is also accepted that one must “work” at becoming or remaining physically fit. Both medical science and experience have taught us that proper nutrition, aerobic exercise, along with a strength/flexibility regimen and adequate sleep are the building blocks to experiencing a healthy and energetic lifestyle.

Yet, when it comes to the spiritual life and maintaining a relationship with God that is personal, alive and growing, many Christians believe, or at least act as if, it will just happen. It is almost as though they believe that the classic spiritual disciplines of meditation, fasting, prayer, study of God’s Word etc. are at best unnecessary and at worst negate the transforming work of the Holy Spirit that comes to us by God’s grace. It is time that we re-affirm the necessity of living a disciplined life before God and that doing so actually puts us in a position where we are able to hear God’s voice, receive His grace and be transformed into the image and likeness of Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit. It is the devil’s lie that being intentional and disciplined in our relationship with God was only for the saints of old or for the legalists of our day who have yet to come to understand God’s love and grace. 

The apostle John records for us in Revelation 2:1-7 what the Lord Jesus had to say to the church at Ephesus, a group of believing Christians, devoted to the Word of God, concerned for holiness, hard working, God fearing. In contemporary terms they were a Bible believing, God fearing group of believers that were working hard for the good of the kingdom of God. But there was a problem, they had forsaken their first love, Jesus Christ. They had allowed other things, other people, other gods to take God’s rightful place in their hearts. This was a condition that the Lord would not tolerate and He calls them to repentance. It is also a condition that He will not tolerate within us. We must recognize that the Lord is calling us as members of the church to repent or turn from those things that have taken over His rightful place in our hearts, that position of being our first love. We must also recognize that the things that we need to repent of are not necessarily evil things but could be God’s good gifts to us that have captured out hearts. Things like family, career, retirement, status, power, prestige, security, comfort, along with leisure pursuits of golf, travel, gardening, cooking, reading and entertainment of varying kinds. The list is endless and unique to every individual.

In writing on this matter of the condition of one’s heart, the author A. W. Tozer describes 7 things that reveal the character of one’s heart:

  • What we want the most
  • What we think about the most
  • The way we use our money
  • What we do with our leisure time
  • Whose company do we enjoy
  • The things we laugh at
  • The people and things that we admire

What is it that you dream about, what is the one thing that you desire above all else? God says if it isn’t Him you have left your first love and you need to repent. Further if you do not repent He is coming to remove your lamp-stand from its place and you will lose your ability to bear witness for Him and will cease to be a person God can use. God is calling each of us to repent, to turn from those things that have captured our hearts and restore Him to His rightful place as the first priority on our lives. In verse 7 of Revelation 2 Jesus says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” It is God’s invitation for us to respond, to respond in repentance, faith and obedience that we all might enjoy eternal life.

This fall there are a number of adult opportunities that could serve as catalysts for a renewed relationship with Christ. We are offering a Sunday morning study on the book of Philippians, the Alpha course, the Cleansing Stream seminar and retreat, Cleansing Discipleship and the Lord Teach Us to Pray Silent Retreat would all be great choices to get re-established with a more disciplined approach to walking with God. It is God’s desire that He would be the first priority in each of our lives and He asks each of us to consider whether we have left our “first love.” Let us learn to fall in love all over again and then purpose to live a disciplined life that will allow for a personal relationship with God that is alive, vibrant and growing richer on a daily basis.