Revelation 2:2-4 (MSG)
“I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause that you never wear out. But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall! Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.”
First love. Love at first sight. The kind of love that moves us into action. You know the kind. It makes you want to be a better person just because of the explosion inside of you. To love and be loved is a motivator of people. In a world that confuses love and lust, the characteristics of love are convoluted. When we reach out to love someone, a soul tie is created. Like a shoe lace knits together a shoe making it fit snugly on our foot a soul tie creates a bond around two hearts. Trouble is human beings in their imperfection accept less than perfect love all the time. Love that abuses. Love that confuses. Love that comes and goes without commitment. Love that lacks all the qualities that God ordained it to be. But when the love leaves the soul ties remain. They trip people up and keep them from ever really loving anyone even themselves. Jesus offers to cut all soul ties for those who come to Him. He will wrap us up in real love so we can love others fearlessly through our connection to Him.
Have you ever run a three-legged race? Where your leg is bound to another person’s and you must find a way to work together and run? It looks easy until you are caught with the other person. Well, imagine that times every relationship that you have in life. Picture your favorite tennis shoelace’s intertwined with multiple other shoes. Now walk in the… it’s just not going to happen. We must cut the ties of love we have with everyone else and become attached to Jesus Christ to love the way that we were meant to love others. Do you love Christ like you did in the beginning? When He cut all those things that had you bound and you stepped into the Freedom of Forever Love. Unconditional Love. Boundless Love wrapped tightly in Grace. Do you remember that feeling when you were set free? What happened? Have you lost your early love? Now is your relationship with Christ as monotonous as your marriage, as frustrating as your children, overbearing as your family, or as undependable as some of your friends? Human love will never be perfect. The Love of God demonstrated through Jesus Christ is perfect. You can always count on His Love. Do we?
I John 4:17-19 (MSG)
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
God is love. He created and perfected love. When we decide to make Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, we step out of this life into a new life in His Love. We live in God. God lives in us. It is a covenant relationship like marriage without all the strife. But is our love, well-formed and well-defined? Not if we have the same expectations in Christ that we had in the world. Not if we live the tainted love of our past rather than embracing our New Love, Jesus Christ. Too many times we would rather sleep with the devil rather than take a chance on an angel. Someone once told me that when returning to a fruitless relationship that was their excuse to return comfortable complacency to endure a life of love rather than thrive in it. It sounds crazy but we do it all the time getting wrapped up in our earthly relationships with all of its requirements that lead to nowhere rather than fearlessly falling in love with Jesus Christ making Him the basis of all our love affairs. Leaving our First Love to pursue other lovers is adultery. My husband would not stand for it. I would kill him if he tried. Why don’t we love Jesus as much as we love our spouse? I would give my life for my husband or children. Why wouldn’t I do just a little bit more for the Lover of my Soul?
I Corinthians 13:2-8 (MSG)
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies.
There are a whole lot of people going through the motions of love without any real knowledge of what love is. When their patience runs out, they quit. When their feelings change, they leave. When they want more, they go find it somewhere else. It is true in human relationships and relationships with the Lord. We can never experience a true relationship with God or His Son, Jesus Christ without experience true love and making it our first love. Falling in love is never the problem. Staying in love is always the issue. Before my husband and I went on an official date, I told a friend that I was going to marry him. I knew it. On one of our first few dates, he confirmed it by saying anyone who I marry will have to love God. We were not living for the Lord at that time but each had a strong desire to return to Him. Jesus Christ stepped up to the marriage altar with us and has been our first love ever since. I honestly will admit that I do not know how people stay married without Jesus Christ. He is the Perfection that allows us to remain united in our imperfections. He meets and exceeds my expectations when my spouse cannot. He changes us into lovable people. Being a Christian is not what saves us and changes us, falling in love with Jesus Christ does. It is the maturity of love that comes from surrendering our lives day by day to His Love that gets the job done. True love never dies. Do you love Him today? Is He your First Love? This could very well be the game changer you have been seeking in others. It could be the fulfillment once thought to be found in other people. It has been for me. I can love from the surplus of love that He has given me. I can forgive because of the grace that I am wrapped up in. He gives me mercy on the days I fail in this thing called love getting tied up in my humanity and then snips each unproductive bond in my life so I am free to love Him fearlessly and forever just like love mandates of me.
Ephesians 3:14-20 (MSG)
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
I have that song stuck in my head. “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. Ugh! “I want to know what love is…I want you to show me…” You’re welcome! It can now play in your mind too. The world has defined love as so many things that are absolutely not true. One commercial boast you can have endless “firsts” in our life. That is ridiculous. Once you have given away your first kiss, it is gone. I have strived to impress this in my children’s hearts and minds. The value of their love that makes them see how much Jesus loves them. He thought that it was so worthwhile to have their love and enjoy their company that He died to be with them. Why give away your heart, soul, mind and body to those who just want to use and discard you when Jesus says come let me love you first? So many times we define our self-worth by how others love us, want us, need us or live with us, but that is not the way it was meant to be. God is love. He loved us first. He loves us best. So completely in fact that His Love will consume all of us instantly if we let Him. His Spirit lives in us as a sign that we belong to Him. His Love is made complete in us by His Spirit so we don’t need anything from other people and are free to love them all unrestricted.
When my kids were little and got mad, they would say to me, “I am not your friend anymore.” I would smile and say, “You don’t have to like me, but I love you. God made me to be your mama not your friend.” I knew that they love me but wanted their own way. Do I really need to explain this any further? God’s Love is unchanged by our willingness to love Him back. He loves us the same every single day. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He cannot and will not take back His Love. When He died for me, Jesus meant it for keeps. When I don’t do the right thing or get tired of the constant process I am in, the Lord waits for me to come back to Him time and time again. When I give the love and commitment that belongs to Him to others, Jesus patiently and lovingly waits until I get it right. He will never let me hurt myself or fall into the enemy’s trap to have my love. His Love is perfect. He will never compromise His Love for me just to keep me close. To have His Love I must make Him first. My First Love in all things cutting ties with all the other things that demand of me in the name of love to experience real love. The kind of love that is too high, deep, wide and long to ever truly comprehend. My life is made complete in my pursuit of all of God’s Love for me from start to finish. This is where I find true contentment. This is the source of my satisfaction. This is how I learn to love others.
Romans 8:38-39 (MSG)
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.