Graceful Perseverance: Our First Love - 01/03/21
Welcome to this week's blog. Throughout scripture God talks about our first love, with Him, not our earthly loves! He’s a jealous God. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God - Deuteronomy 4:24 (ESV). He wants us to seek Him first, and not to be hungry or thirsty for things of this cynical, fragmented world, which is temporary. But unlike this world, His love is unfailing and everlasting! We love because he first loved us - 1 John 4:19 (ESV).
How can we seek God’s love? Prayer should be the first way and the first priority in our lives above anything else. When we set aside a period each day to spend quiet time with the Lord, we are displaying to Him that we desire to seek a deep-seated relationship with Him first and foremost. If we blow him off, omit time spent with Him or do not communicate with Him in everything we do, we are denying ourselves the free gift of knowing His love, our Father in Heaven, the Creator of heaven and earth. If you love me, you will keep my commandments - John 14:15 (ESV). It's important to note that God isn’t looking for good works from us each day in order to receive His love or to give us a “free pass” into heaven! It’s more important to Him that we seek Him, to desire to love Him above anyone or anything in our life! Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first – Revelation 2:4 (NIV).
When God created us, love was always a part of His perfect plan. He commanded that He should always be our first love. But in our sinful heirloom (Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden), sin was passed down to us from sinful ancestors. We were never born with sin, but from love. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - Genesis 2:8-9 (ESV).
Scripture clearly lets us know on the day of judgement He isn’t going to ask us about our good works, but He will know if our heart is in the right place. He will already know if we spent our life glorifying Him in prayer and exalting him in the world or not. He knows our hearts. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts – Psalm 139:23 (NIV).
There are many people who accept as truth that if they work endless hours and donate their time to only gain self-grandeur that this is what God means by doing good works. And, as a result, they will surely get into heaven! This is a fallacy! Not a result of works, so that no one may boast - Ephesians 2:9 (ESV). God doesn’t want any of us to boast about the work we do while we are here. His perfect plan is to keep us from boasting in our proud, self-seeking ways. He has a better plan for us to be saved so that we may have an everlasting life with Him in heaven. Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved – Romans 10:9 (ESV).
It is only when we have a deep, personal relationship with our Savior that we will see and know His love for us! When we deny ourselves and pick up our cross, we will know the only true priority in our life should be to follow Jesus in all that we do, regardless of how minute we think the daily tasks are each day! When we pursue Jesus’ help, its truly life changing! Just ask me! I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first – Revelation 2:19 (NIV).
Speaking as “the witness” to God’s love for me and how he’s blessed me with a new life, free of my old sinful ways, only to discover that my relationship and love for Him grows deeper and deeper every day! It’s truly an amazing feeling that supersedes anything this world has to offer!
Like clockwork, I spend every morning in my prayer room with Jesus! I love to talk with Him and confide in Him. I cry out to Him and I thank Him! I persevere in prayer with Him. He brings me peace in the middle of a storm. Some days my prayers are praises for blessings and some days pleading for His intervention. He guides me deep into scripture and literally navigates me to specific messages in the bible that are fitting just for me that day! The exact words of hope I needed to hear from Him that day.
Remember, all we have to do is slow down, and spend quiet time with him each day, and He truly will speak to us audibly or through scripture. He removes any doubt, fear, evil thoughts, judgment, resentment or anger we may be holding onto. He cleanses our hearts. 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 - Romans 8:39 (NIV). He always answers whatever concerns I have during this quiet time. It’s amazing how I feel after I’ve spent time with the Lord to jumpstart my day.
Why is it that we always make time for everything in our lives but Jesus? Other things such as: gym time, happy hour with coworkers at the bar, shopping at the malls, exotic trips and vacations, doctor, dentist or cosmetic surgery appointments, as well as the superficial appointments for nails, hair, waxing and massages. The list is long for all of the matters we plan and schedule in our day. And then we declare we don’t have time for quiet time with Jesus. God cries out for our time. But then we insult Him by making Him a lesser priority, putting Him at the bottom of our “to do” list. And the truth is our daily actions prove it. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first – Revelation 2:4 (ESV).
What about God's love then? There are endless examples of God's love throughout scripture. Scripture tells us that God himself is love. Love is often explained as wanting the best for someone, and that's exactly what God’s purpose is for us. There is so much collective scripture about God's love. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. If we love one another, God abide in us, and His love is perfected in us - 1 John 4:11-12 (ESV).
Here’s what Jesus shared with His disciples about love - No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God - John 16:27 (NIV).
Who do you believe is your first love? And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength – Mark 12:30 (ESV).
It’s a choice for each of us. I choose my first love as my priority. To glorify, exalt, serve and spend time with Jesus, the first and last love of my life!
Blessings until next week,
Scripture Quotes: Holy Bible – New International Version (NIV) / English Standard Version (ESV) / New King James Version (NKJ)
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