Roughly six months before I became a Christian, there was a record playing (Wow! 33 and a third. Black record. Have no idea the name of it.) by Loretta Lynn that talked about the night Jesus was in the garden and then on the cross the next day. It went no further. That record, which I now know the Lord placed in my life, made me cry out to the Him asking why it happened. Why did they kill Him? You see, I had heard the story many times but had not really HEARD what happened afterwards. So many folks celebrate holidays like Christmas and Easter and have no idea what they mean. My crying out to the Lord that day led me to a ministry in Mississippi six months later, although I did not know it at the time. The day I gave my heart to Jesus, it was a total surprise to me. The memories of that day and a number of them after are with me to this day. Take the time to remember your own testimony now. How long has it been since you thought of that time?
But since then, things have changed, life goes on. New revelations from Bible studies, prayer time, and teaching and preaching from pastors and preachers often replace things we learned at the beginning. Sometimes our zeal wavers a bit because of bills, kids, jobs, and time stealers (you fill in the blank for that). The worries and cares of the day, week, month take over. Time for prayer becomes shorter and shorter, sometimes disappearing altogether. Going to church, once an anticipated event, becomes more and more difficult to accomplish until one day, that too stops due to the necessity of having just one day to 'sleep in' or you can't miss that golf game that starts promptly at 9a.m. on Sunday.
At some point it comes to mind to question your priorities but that also gets put on the back burner when someone comes in with a scraped knee or elbow. Coming back to the question might take days, weeks or months, if at all. You feel you have 'grown in the Lord' to the point that you no longer have to act like a beginner. There are things you know now that change how you thought before. Yet there is 'something' missing. Not really sure what it might be but you know there is SOMETHING, if only you could put your finger on it. Have you been there?
Thinking of this condition, which I found myself in on many occasions, brought me to this scripture:
Revelation 2:1-5, "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."
Did you notice here that the Lord had really good things to say about this church? They hated evil things, loved to labor in the Lord, apparently tireless in their works, and they were patient. They could tell when there was a false teacher in their presence. They really had it going on. Yet the Lord found something wrong. They had lost their first love! What does that mean anyway? There is no way I can tell you about YOU but my experiences are wonderful memories. Almost at the instant I was born again, there was a joy that welled up inside me that was incredible. Nothing could make me angry and that was some feat in those days. Cloud nine wasn't high enough! If you can imagine it, I was perplexed at the folks who didn't find it a priority to go to church every time the door was open. We practically lived there. Church excited me. I had a yearning to hear every word I could about the Lord or just stand and worship, sing to the Lord.
God finds that first love very valuable. When we lose it, something inside is different. Are we really that much smarter now that we have been with the Lord a while? Not really. The more I find out about the Lord, the more I realize that I know absolutely nothing! So what's the problem? God sees that first love being driven out by cares, worries, bad habits, the world. I can hear Him in my spirit now saying 'Come to Me. Come back to your first love.' Don't let those worldly things get between you and the Lord. Go back to the basics. Put God first in your day. It is absolutely amazing what will happen. Suddenly, you have more time than before. Things go better. Or they don't but do you care? No! Why? Because you have the Peace that passes all understanding. You have been in the presence of the Lord!
If you have strayed away from the Lord, are just not living the life you should with the Father, or have never asked Jesus into your heart, consider making the decision now to pray this prayer with me:
Father, I have sinned against You. I am an unclean person. Please forgive me. Wash me clean and never ever remember my sins again just as you promised in Your Word. Jesus, You died for me on that cross. You rose again on the third day and now sit at the right hand of the Father. Please come into my heart and be my Lord. Holy Spirit, please fill me today as You did those on the day of Pentecost. My life is no longer my own. I'm bought with a price. I will follow You from this day on. Thank You, Lord!! I am a child of God and Jesus is in my heart!! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Now get out that dusty Bible, blow it off, and get started reading! It's God's manual on how to handle any situation, just like your owner's manual for your car. If possible, find a good church home. If that isn't possible, tune in to the various ministries and networks on TV or online. There are lots of places to find the Lord when you look. Remember the basics.