Our First Love

February 14, 2014

Revelations 2:3-5

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember 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.

 


Our First Love


Many times our marriages and our relationship with Christ have a lot in common.  They both are built upon love and relationship.  They generally start out with great commitment, emotion and passion to love and serve the Lord or to love and serve our spouse.  Through the course of life with all of its trials and demands the polish and gold tends to wear thin on the feelings and commitment we first felt and lived toward the Lord and toward our spouse. Many of us have endured many hardships together and we have trusted the Lord through many of them.  

Even though we are good people, who have worked hard for our marriage and for our spiritual relationship the dynamics have changed.  We’ve somehow lost the closeness and the intimacy of relationship we once had.  

This word “forsaken” in verse 4 in the Greek means, “ to depart, as of a husband divorcing his wife, yield up, expire, let go, let alone, to disregard, to leave, to omit, neglect.”  Do any of these words speak to our hearts as to our relationships in our marriage and in our walk and relationship with Christ?  We are still here in body, going through the motions of marriage and relationship, but have our hearts left the room?  Have they grown cold with complacency?  Sometimes our marriages are measured by how well we tolerate one another rather than how well we really love and bless one another.  Even in our Christianity we so often get in the rut of being religious, going to church, giving our tithe or doing our duty, but our heart and passion are no longer in it.  

It is a time for stirring up the embers and throwing on some new wood.  It is a time we must blow and breathe new life back into the fire of our relationships.  I’ll admit I have been bad about becoming so caught up in my business and the things that concern me, that I have neglected the weightier matters.  Somehow we come to take for granted that this loved one will always be there and everything will be fine, meanwhile we allow the foundation to rot out from under us.  One day we wake up and our house is in ruin.  The signs were all around but we didn’t heed them until our lampstand had been plucked from us and suddenly we found ourselves shut out.  

Here the Lord is warning us about our relationship with Him and also what can happen in our marriages.  We must return to that first love, the courting, the dating, the intimacy and attention that we gave to our partner then.  It can be no less with Christ.  It is not our works that save us in our marriage or our Christianity, it is the relationship that we maintain and cultivate with the one that we say we love. For me, it is often my communication that fails the most.  I get caught up in my own little world and when I fail to communicate, I find I am failing in my relationship.  That communication, especially that which shares my heart, is what my wife needs from me.  She has to feel that connection with my heart to feel close to me and a part of me.  I think this often comes more naturally to women as a general rule than men, but it doesn’t mean that we as men can neglect it.  We have to cultivate it, even when it doesn’t come naturally to us.  It is always remembering that love is not about us, it is about the object of our love.  When we love the Lord or our spouse the way they need to be loved, we will find that our needs are met in our giving and loving.  Let us endeavor to return now to our first love, not just in word, but in deed and with all of our heart. 

 
Blessings,
kent

Let’s stretch Ourselves

October 24, 2013

Let’s stretch Ourselves

Luke 6:27-36
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Jesus tells us to do some things here that are pretty contrary to a lot of our human nature. I would venture to say, that in all of us, we probably aren’t fully walking in what Jesus is telling us to do in this passage. Let’s arm our selves with these instructions that the Lord has given us and as we go out each day let’s endeavor to stretch ourselves, step out of our comfort zone and the way that we have always done it. Let’s step out of our character and into His. Let’s do something radically kind and generous. Let’s endeavor to be a blessing to all that we meet, especially those that are irregular people in our lives that we struggle to even tolerate, let alone like them. Put on the mind of Christ today as you look out and see your world. See it through His eyes and His love. What would Jesus do? How can I get out of my thinking and into His? Bless someone in a spontaneous and unexpected way. Forgive that person who has offended and hurt you. Refuse to retaliate when others abuse you, treat you wrongly or speak unkindly to you. Return blessing for evil, love for hate and kindness for unkindness.
Let’s dare to be different today. Let’s dare to let the Lord stretch us and use us in new and uncommon ways. That means we have to step out of the character of who we have been and into the character of who Christ is and wants to be within us and through us. Go out and assault your world with random acts of kindness. Take the time to tell others how special they are and what a difference their life makes to you. Edify those around you. Be thankful that you get to go to work and that you have a job. Let everyday be another great day, because Christ is living in you and through you.
Dare to let go of the things that you hold onto so tightly. Rest in the Lord that he is your provision and your supply. As 2 Corinthians 8:15 says, “As it is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack.” There are untapped resources within us waiting to be released, as we are willing to stretch into the Lord’s principles and commandments. How many times have we read this passage and others like it, but how much of it is actively working in our lives and everyday behavior. What Jesus speaks here is not often seen in natural behavior. Jesus wants to stretch us out of what we have been that is like everyone else and stretch into what He is. If He has commanded us to do these things then He has provided the resources for us to do it. Are you willing to stretch today?

Blessings,
kent

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