Jesus warned the Ephesian Church in Revelation not to lose their first love, the love of course being Jesus Himself.
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:4–5, NIV84)
So what do you do when your love for Jesus is fading? Your hunger for God is leaving and your interest in the things of God is absent? This is serious. The greatest gift we have is Jesus and our salvation. When our zeal for God, our love for Jesus wains, we need to act quickly. This usually starts with missing church more and more, as you isolate yourself away from God’s people. The Bible is neglected, prayer lessons, small group is gone. When we start losing our first love, we become critical and judgmental toward spiritual leadership, and other Christians. We begin to really judge other’s spiritual lives, and most have taken an offense in some way or another. Worldly habits, and activities begin to increase in our lives, generosity diminishes, and self is exalted as Jesus is slowly and sadly removed from the throne of our life.
So when this is happening you must act fast. In fact, I am inspired to write this because I know every believer will come to this place at one time or another. Receive this as a reminder and/or warning to not lose your love for Jesus. He is too awesome. He loves you too much. If this distance was triggered by a disappointment, a tragedy, a trial, lean into the goodness of God. Here are some very practical encouragements for you.
- Jesus says to “repent.” That means to have a change of mind and heart. To return to the things you did when you first were saved. That is enjoy Jesus, living in forgiveness, being hungry for the Word of God, and loving God’s people.
- Let go of offense. If someone hurt you, offended you, upset you, neglected you, overlooked you, or was outright mean to you you have to forgive and let it go. That is the essence of the Gospel. With God’s help you can do it. When people hurt mean I am reminded that I also have hurt people, and I need God’s forgiveness. I remember my sin was paid for on Calvary and so was the person who hurt me. I have had to go to people and talk it out. I have had to go to Jesus and let it out. You can also. Pray the Lord’s prayer slowly and meaningfully. You can forgive. He will help you.
- Ask for help. We all need spiritual guidance. Many people grow distant because of discouragement. Discouragement in life is real. It comes from disappointment. Maybe in life, or in a person, or even in your pastor. Disappointment is an experience no one will escape from . Jesus is with us in our disppointments.
- Read and receive. Do what you don’t feel like, reading and receiving the Bible. Read Psalm 34, 116, 118, 27, 24. Read the Sermon on the Mount. Read the Life of Christ, or an Epistle, Ask God to speak to you and encourage you.
- Get with God’s People. The Lord speaks corporately to us. Maybe just sitting in the back and enjoying the presence of the Holy Spirit together with others. Head back to your small group. Call a mature Christian friend who’s presence bring you strength and peace. You have to reach out. We need each other. Read Ecclesiastes 4.9-12. You need a spiritual, Jesus loving, non-critical friend.
- Identify any worldy ways and habits that have crept back into your life. Reject them, get forgiveness and remember they will not satisfy. They will distract you and lie to you. This things can bring great spiritual and moral damage. Remember our lives speak our values. Our values are what we present to our children, grandchildren, and the world.
- Walk and talk. Go to a park, nature, or a lake and take a walk and talk to Jesus. Tell Him out loud what you are going through, and ask him to help you get through this.
- Rest in the love of Jesus. Trust in his love. Know that He is your Lord, and loves you more than anyone on this earth. Remind yourself the truth of Christ. Humble your heart, and immerse yourself in His love, and friendship.
I love you all…. Pastor Nate
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I speak the truth in Christ— Romans 8