I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men,that you have tested those who claim to be apostlesbut are not, and have found them false.You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name,and have not grown weary.Yet I hold this against you:You have forsaken your first love.Remember the height from which you have fallen!Repent and do the things you did at first.~ Revelation 2:2-5a
Jesus did a “one thing” seven times in the book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. Seven different groups of people, seven “one things,” using just a few sentences for each. His heart laid bare.
Here, in these pages of Revelation, he invites me to find principles indicating what might be on his heart, if he were to say “one thing” to me.
Hard working, persevering, intolerant of wickedness, enduring hardships for Christ–such a “straight and narrow,” “good” little group of Christians… and yet, these great things had become dos and don’ts, shoulds and “had betters.”
Even with all my dutiful rule keeping, he longs for my heart to be his. Do I, like the church in Ephesus to which this is written, no longer nurture the heart of love for the Lord that motivated me in the earliest days of my faith? Has it grown cold?
How many of my pursuits are from a heart that is deeply in love with my Savior? There is a place for shoulds and “had betters,” but I want even those to be because I love the Lord.
Oh, Lord! Stir in me that first love sort of love once again! Never let me forget the love that motivated me to tell everyone that I had met you…that you had saved me. The love that made me shout from the top of the mountain (on horseback) “I LOVE YOU, JESUS!!!!”
Do I pander after “thin” or “fit” or __?___ for MY sake? Or does love for Him motivate me?
If I “should” exercise, or “shouldn’t” eat more, is it an expression of a heart beating for him? Or of love for the praise of man or looking good or being a certain size? Oh, that love for HIM would motivate my choices, my decisions, my steps in life, the way I spend my time!
What do I sigh over? What do I think about? These are clues about where my heart is. Does my heart beat for Jesus?
Oh, Lord, make it so!
How, Lord? How can I move from where I am to where I want to be?
The Scripture tells me there are three things:
Remember, repent, and do.
- Remember the heart I had for him during the times when I was most in love with him.
- Consider the things that went with that sort of heart for God and repent of allowing any reason other than love to motivate me now…
- Pursue doing those things which were a part of my passion for Christ in the beginning.
I am changed. I am stirred. I am touched…again.
Thank you, Lord! Amazing love, how can it be!
For me, on a somewhat superficial level, this means I don’t use the number on the label (size!) to club myself over the head–OR to pat myself on the back. I don’t puff up over having been to the gym four times in one week. Do I really think this is the abundant life that Jesus died to give me (John 10:10)? As CS Lewis said, I am playing in mud puddles in the slum when I could have a lovely holiday at the seashore!
When I am most in love with Jesus prayer is as breathing to me in the rhythms of the day. In and out…“Yes, Lord, I want YOUR will…” Listening… “Yes, Lord, I will obey you…” Waiting…listening for the sweetness of his prompting and loving the sweetness of obeying. Even when it means dying to self.
Even when self is being “so good…”
This is so much deeper–and harder–than “weight loss” or “controlling my eating.” I NEED the Lord in order to be able to accurately respond to my body’s cues to eat and then to stop when I am no longer hungry. I NEED the Lord to move my body as a delightful expression of worship. Only loving him would motivate me to die to self with its desperate insistence to DO things with puffed up pride. So often, I love food so much more that I love Him, I am sad to say. So often, I seem to love lethargy…my tendency for my rear to grow roots in a chair…
Today, I will remember, repent and do…
The one thing that Jesus has said to me today in my time with him is “Love me again…with the love you once knew.”
Yes, Lord…take my heart. I abandon it to you. Take all I try to do to “be good,” or “right,” or “thin,” or….whatever else. I just want to love you.