In my previous post, I said that I was going to start a series about what being a believer is in this era. I thought to start with the basics and of course from the beginning – Love.
I’ve heard people say that a girl’s first love is her father. While that may be correct for those who fathers that play/played an active role in their lives, what about those who aren’t quite as fortunate to have a father play that role? And what about the men? Who is their first love? Their mothers? What about those who didn’t get the chance to meet their mothers? There is a first love that I know is always present and doesn’t rely on gender, you got it right – Jesus. The only reason we know what love is, is because He first loved us –1st John 4:19 we love because He first loved us.ESV So even if your father or mother showed you love, the only reason you can experience all of that is because He first loved you.
I have heard this phrase many times but I never thought much about it. I’m referring to Revelations 2: 1-7, where it talks about doing all the right things yet missing the mark. I have tried to figure out what “return to your first love” means. Verses 2 & 3 explain what a lot of us believers do right now – 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 then verse 4 & 5 basically says all of the above is good but it’s not enough- “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! Revelations 2: 1-7 MSG
“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.
What exactly are we supposed to turn back to? The answer I got is from Matthew 6:33NIV “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” God wants for us to seek Him. He wants us to find out more about Him. When you seek something, your goal is to find it. You focus on the search area, with rapt attention so that you don’t miss an opportunity to find what you are looking for.
I believe that above all else, God wants us to have genuine interest in Him. For who He is and not what He can give us. The best example I have that explains this is when you are dating someone. If you know that they only want you because of what you have and what you can give them, you wouldn’t want to continue the relationship. You would conclude that the moment you stopped giving and the moment you lose all you have, they would in turn disappear. It is hurtful to know that someone is only with you because of what they can get from you. The reverse is the case when you know someone is with you because they respect you and have genuine interest in who you are and what you are about. The truth is that in this scenario, it is very likely that you sacrifice more for this individual than you would for the individual in the former scenario. I am not saying that God is man and plays the tit-for-tat game, but I want to believe that if we wouldn’t want to be used why would we want to use God?
What do you do when you meet someone you like? You spend time with them, you learn about them, you find out their likes and dislikes. You try to make them happy and stay away from what displeases them. I like to use the same approach with seeking God. You are to spend time with Him, asking Him what His will is. I would like to say that this is a life-long commitment. Just as you can’t know all about a person in a short time, you can’t know all about God even if you had a hundred years. You will find out new things about Him each time you seek Him.
The things you go after in place of spending time with Him, He can give them to you. Matthew 6:25-33 supports this point, that there is nothing you need that you can’t get inside of His kingdom. The moment you identify with God, your priority should be Him. It is impossible that you put Him first and lack basic things like food and clothing. The Message version reads beautifully, you should read that version when you get the chance.
Do not be discouraged when it seems like you can’t find Him. You have to be persistent with seeking Him. Psalm 37:7NIV says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” You can’t hurry the process. It takes a lifetime of diligence.
What is it like seeking God in the 21st century?
You might be thinking, “how can I give God all this time when life is coming at me at 200miles/hr?” “There aren’t enough hours in the day, I work multiple jobs and take classes on top of that.” “I go to bed exhausted and wake up tired.” The struggle is real my dear. I believe that we sometimes over analyze things. He wants to be a part of your hustle and bustle. Even in that chaos where your mind is spinning, talk to Him. Don’t think of the sanctimonious Christians who make you feel that if you don’t cover your head, go on your knees and do some spiritual mambo-jumbo that He wouldn’t hear you. Please He is after your heart – In 1st Samuel 16, the Lord was talking to Samuel about picking a new king for Israel. Samuel like us humans was looking for “kingly” potential in terms of appearance and diction and all that is appealing to the human eyes, God had to tell him that He doesn’t look at the things people look at but He looks at the heart. 1st Samuel 16:7MSG “But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” Your walk with God has to be at your own pace, be genuine, vulnerable with Him. Be honest, persistent and consistent. It takes time, I believe it takes a lifetime. It’s not something you get once and you are good forever. It is a continuous process. Moreover, when you do it often, it becomes a part of you. It is no longer this chore you keep pushing on you to-do list.
I talk to Him as if He is right in front of me. Even though He is God Almighty and He is a fire breathing God you do not want to mess with, I see Him as my best friend.
I would love to hear what your experiences are. What is standing in the way of knowing your first love? I would love tips too if you have them. We are supposed to lift each other up and not give up on meeting together. I’m just going to let him speak for himself – Hebrews 10:24-25NIV And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We have to go back to our first love – Jesus. He wants our heart just the way it is. You do not even need to know what you are doing with your life. He just wants to spend some quality time with us as He did with Adam in the beginning Genesis 3:8 infers that God walked with Adam and Eve in the evenings. That was the original plan- to hang out with us.
Do not complicate and over analyze things. Take what you know about religion and throw it out the window. It is your responsibility to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ, not your church, not your spouse, not your parents or friends, the power lies in your hands.