Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is a day that we tell our loved ones how much they are appreciated and if you are like me, take advantage of a day when it is perfectly acceptable to eat chocolate, regardless of what diet you might be on.
But it is also a day that we should ask ourselves a very important question.
In all the hustle and bustle of life, have you forgotten your first love?
About four years ago, God took me through a difficult class at the lifelong University of Conforming Aaress to Be Like Himself.
Not surprisingly, I thought I had it all together and was doing pretty well in my work and ministry. One day, as I was casually reading through the book of Revelation, I suddenly found myself staring at a scolding indictment on the page.
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:1-5
As I went through the list, I thought I was doing pretty well overall.
Do I work for the Lord? Check.
Am I patient? When it comes to working for the Lord, most of the time. Half check.
Do I ignore apostasy and excuse compromise? No. Check.
Do I labor with perseverance and without giving up? Check.
But then I got to the last point.
Have I wandered from my first love in the middle of all the service? Gulp. Check.
In the midst of all the service, I had forgotten who I was serving. In the middle of all the how, I had forgotten the why.
I don’t believe that the church today is any different than the church in Ephesus, thousands of years ago. Our pews are filled with people on every committee the church has to offer, and our sanctuaries are packed with people who spent their weekdays doing, doing, doing for the Lord.
But with all the doing, we have forgotten the most important thing, the first works as Christ called it.
What are the first works? What could be more important than serving the Lord faithfully?
Someone else had this question and asked Jesus about it. I love our Lord’s answer, so clear and so simple.
Loving the Lord, but not just in deed. Loving the Lord, not just in word. We Christians are pros at those two.
But it is the other three that are much harder—loving God with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind.
On this Valentine’s Day, let’s step away from the Hershey’s for a few moments of soul-searching questions. I’m going to join you because this is one University class that I find myself continually enrolled in.
Are you loving God with all your heart or sharing that love with other competing idols? Remember, an idol is not just a plump Buddha sitting on a shelf. An idol is something far more subtle. “Anything that effects our decisions besides that of the glory of God and His will alone is an idol.” David Wilkerson
Are you loving the Lord with all your soul—your emotions and the core of your being? Or are your emotions impacted by your circumstances or another person’s moods?
Are you loving God with all your mind? Where are your thoughts throughout the day? Are your thoughts in the heavenlies, or tied up among us bottom-dwellers below? Learn to practice the presence of God.
It’s time for you to return to your first love.
The One who loves you more than your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your family, your friends, and even the makers of Dove Chocolate is calling for you.
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