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First Love

January 23rd, 2013

When and where love diminishes, relationships suffer.

“You have left your first love.” Revelation 2:4 NKJV.

Love is not lost easily. Real love is resilient, willing to overlook disappointment, and love is fairly tenacious, holding fast as long as hope lives. But even when love is not easily lost, love can be left – little by little and often unnoticed – until finally love is lost. Love must be monitored and guarded, necessitating initiative and guarding its growth. When first in love, no expectation is too much, no time together enough, no wait too long, or no sacrifice too great. Yet love can diminish unnoticeably, most often by inattentiveness and always through neglect. When love diminishes, relationship suffers. Love’s depreciation is more often by drift than determination.

Allow me to explore the verse from Revelation a bit more with you. “Remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first.” Revelation 2:5 NIV. The “height” they left is the love they once held for God and the love God had for them. John, the beloved Apostle, wrote of the Lord’s corrective warning to the Church at Ephesus with these words. “You have left your first love.” Revelation 2:4 NKJV. Such a simple thing, but of prime importance to God. They became inattentive, even casual, about the spiritual intimacy they once enjoyed with God. They remained busy about good works and were commended. They were not as careful about God’s presence in their hearts. Some measure of distance had been allowed. “Remember the height . .” was God’s remedy. “Repent and do the things you did at first,” was their pathway of return. A friend observed, “The sinful negligence that caused such a fall from great heights is no equal to the heights of God’s love and grace that are reclaimed through repentance.”

Paul prayed, “That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 NKJV. God’s heart is that you personally know the highest reach of the immeasurable dimensions of the love of Christ and God’s own fullness. Allow me to recall for you the words I previously wrote on this subject: “Remember the prominence and priority of your fervent devotion and spiritual practices – when your heart was tender toward God, worship was pure and exuberant, the Word of God warmed your heart, love for one another was real, and Jesus was truly Lord of your life.” That’s what “first love” looks like. Love, as of the unrestrained nature of His own, opens your heart to Heaven’s best. Nothing less is a worthy  or fitting response to God. See Romans 5:8/1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV.

With the Christians at Corinth, Paul was also concerned with our potential for spiritual drift from their “first love.” “For I am jealous for you with Godly jealousy . . I fear, lest somehow . . your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 NKJV. Your relationship with God was never meant to become complicated. We tend to complicate love with God, and one another. With loving heart, the Lord, “Who is rich in mercy,” was calling them to return to, “His great love with which He loved us” (Ephesians 2:4 NKJV), and restore the devotion of their own love who, “love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 5:19 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you hold fast and dear your first love of God.

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