Your First Love
By: Brian A. Yeager
When the Lord had a problem with the church of Christ meeting in Ephesus it was over them leaving their first love. Notice: “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 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).
Who is the first love of a Christian? We know we’re to put the kingdom of our Lord first (Matthew 6:33), but does that mean God gets our love even above our families? Should I love the Lord more than myself? Let’s see what Jesus says about this: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it... And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment… And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Matthew 10:37-39, Mark 12:28-30, and Luke 14:25-33).
The Scriptures you just read plainly show that God wants to be the priority in our lives. He wants to be the love of our lives. He wants to be the first priority in our lives. This is a just request in that He is our Creator (Isaiah 45:12) and Savior (Jude 25). Now, we should spend some time in thinking about how we should act to show God that He is our first love.
How Do I Show God He Is My First Love?
There is a simple answer to this question. Here it is: “If ye love me, keep my commandments… He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me… If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love… And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him… By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (John 14:15, John 14:21-24, John 15:10, I John 2:3-5, and I John 5:2-3).
To consider the applications of the simple answer above, we have to honestly test whether or not we are doing God’s will or our own in our lives. For example, I know I am supposed to work a job to provide for my family and myself (II Thessalonians 3:10 and I Timothy 5:8). I am also supposed to worship God (John 4:23-24) while assembling with the saints (Acts 20:7). When I choose to work over assembling to be a servant to my brethren and my Lord, whom do I love first in my life? This should be especially clear since I am told not to forsake the assembling of the saints (Hebrews 10:23-25). God is not first in my life if I choose work over Him.
Let’s say a family member I love or a close friend wants me to do something I know I shouldn’t be doing. I think that I do not want to hurt he or she. I even think of a verse, that I will twist the application of, to say that I should be friendly (Proverbs 18:24). So, I give in and do whatever it was they wanted me to do. In so doing, I sin. I hurt God (Genesis 6:5-6, Psalms 78:40, Psalms 95:10, and Isaiah 63:9-10). I didn’t show Him that He is my love. What I did was show Him that I care more about my family or friend than I do about Him.
Whatever it is in life that we put between God and ourselves is a problem we have to remove. Our whole purpose in life is to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). While God allows us to enjoy life (Ecclesiastes 2:24 and I Timothy 6:17), we ultimately exist for His pleasure rather than our own (Revelation 4:11).
Eternal life is promised to those whom love the Lord (James 1:12). The only person that can separate you from the love of God is you (Romans 8:31-39). Therefore, if you are out of love with God, that falls completely on you. If He is not your first love, it is because you have not made Him your first love. If this is your problem, go and read accounts of what God has done for you (i.e. Genesis 1:27, Psalms 100:3, Psalms 65:9-13, Psalms 68:19, Psalms 40:5, Acts 13:26, Romans 5:6-10, I Peter 3:18, and I John 4:9-10) and fall in love with Him as you should be!
Volume 14 – Issue 13 - December 15th, 2013