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First Love

It happened relatively quickly. At first, I was busy. Just so busy, you know? And then I was distracted. And this busy-ness and distracted-ness kind of just snowballed into an apathy that seemed almost uncontrollable. Like, I knew what I should do and what I previously had wanted to do- but then I would distract myself. On purpose. 

It was dumb, really. It should have bothered me more that I didn't want to do the things I had done at first, but in the moment, it was like I couldn't care enough. Those things felt like work. Like it would cost me something. Like it would require my full attention, all of me, and I didn't feel like I had it to give. 

And eventually, because of my negligence and hiding behind all of the things, there was something like a wall built. Like I built it myself and I was ashamed I had built it but I had- brick by brick, one small choice on top of another and another and another. So when I finally recognized how far things had gone, it seemed that I had blown it.

How do I come back from this? 

What do I do with this wall? 

A few weeks ago, I read this passage: “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13)And I prayed it, you know? Earnestly prayed: “Lord, don't let my love grow cold. Help me to endure to the end.” 

It honestly is terrifying how quickly and how easily a love can grow cold. 

Just like how spreading a bit of mortar here and laying a brick there, bit by bit, results in that wall, so are our 'small' choices. Like being busy and distracted are a foundation of sorts and then we're just slinging brick and mortar with every additional thing we are throwing ourselves into and every desire of our flesh we are gratifying. 

We believe the lie that to be uncomfortable, to die to ourselves and to make a 'costly' choice is worse than attempting to rebuild a divide that Jesus paid the highest price to tear down once and for all. We should be rejoicing in the finished work of the cross- and whether we realize it or not, those times where something else has captured our time and attention more than Jesus pours out such a disdain and contempt, even, for Jesus and all He has done. 

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5) 

The really great thing is that anything that we build with our human hands is nothing compared to the King of kings, Who already took care of every sin and every bit of shame. He is moved with compassion if ever we get stuck in any variation of the love-grown-cold cycle. 

It's right there: remember, repent and do the works you did at first. It is that simple. 

What was that love like at first? Do you remember? The delight and the joy and the running toward the Lord. The zeal and the intention and the purposing of your heart, the positioning of yourself at His feet with a hunger and an eagerness. 

Did you feel bound then? Was there any reluctance or begrudging or obligation? Did anything else seem more appealing or important? 

Oh, God, forgive us! Oh, Lord, we repent! Teach us and equip us to beat our flesh into submission. Replace the lamps of our first love! Remind us of the works we did at first and show us how You would have us put those works into action now. 

The Lord can set you free right now and anytime that you find your love growing cold and your lamp running out of oil. And as He warms our hearts and sets us ablaze, just full up of His love, we can then love others well, with His love. It is only then that we can do this rightly.

We are doing two specific heart checks today, love. How can I love the Lord my God with all of my heart and my soul and my strength, with a first love kind of love? And how can I then love my spouse? 

If we can so easily abandon the love we had at first with the Perfect and Holy One, the One who is most worthy of all our love, how easy is it then to abandon the love we had at first with our spouse? How easy would it be to build that same wall? To slip into being busy and distracted? To slip into complacency? How scarily easy could it be to cease pursuing and lavishing? 

Or worse, then. As the bricks go up, could we grow in indifference? In disdain? Our first love becoming utterly unrecognizable? 

Far be it from us, Lord. 

Once we have completed a heart inventory with the Lord, we must allow Him to also speak to us and to sift us regarding our marriages. This is the one that God has gifted us. This is the one we have become one with. Are we filled with gratitude? With wonder over the joy and comfort and security and intimacy and even sanctification that has come wrapped up in the gift that our spouse is? 

Maybe today you just need that fire stoked. Maybe today you need that wall to be demolished in one fell swoop. Maybe today you need to allow the Lord to tend to your heart, to offer up to Him anything you may be carrying, to release it and to allow His healing to overwhelm you. 

Maybe today you need a miracle, because you are barely hanging on. If you're going to let go, then lift those hands in surrender to the One who is mighty to save. 

Wherever you are today, dear one, things are not too far gone. It is not too late and it is not too big for our God. Sit before Him right now and make note of the things that come pouring out of you. Write down the date and the time, even. Wait and watch. 

First love is being restored. 

Lord, I pray that over my sister reading this. Lord, specifically in her marriage, would you come and do a mighty work? Father, I ask that You would reveal to her any areas in her heart that You are wanting to come in and cleanse. I ask that You would purge anything that may have built up over time. I ask that You would heal her heart, transform her mind and open her eyes and ears to see and to hear the Truth that You are leading her into in a specific area. Lord, would you renew and restore? In the name of Jesus, would you grant a love for You and a love for her husband that is beyond compare? Speak to her what things she did at first that You would have her go and do now- and Lord, grant her the courage and humility to obey You. I thank You, Jesus. Thank You for this sweet sister. Bless her and her walk with You and her marriage, in Jesus' name, amen.

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