Have you ever considered a love affair?
A student named James old me he gained weight during his first year on campus due to the availability of so much food. At home, he was used to his mom’s cooking and once dinner was over, for example, she said the kitchen was closed for the night. It was different on campus with the cafeteria being open longer hours of the day, free food around the dorms, and late night food runs during study breaks. He told me before he knew it he had put on the freshman 15 (pounds, that is), that he never heard about before. He wasn’t playing sports, had a busy academic load of classes, and wasn’t used to have to exercise by building it into his schedule.
One night while watching TV, James became intrigued by a stationary bike being advertised for three low payments. The next day he went online and made the purchase, not even realizing the campus gym probably had a similar model. He was quite happy when it arrived in his dorm a week later. He assembled it and started riding each day for the first few weeks. As the weeks turned into a month or two, he went from cycling four times a week to three to two…then once. After six weeks, the stationary bike he had so passionately pursued became merely a place to throw laundry onto in the corner. It had become a dusty, unused machine. The “intrigue” was over. He had lost some weight, learned better eating habits, but squandered his money.
Does James’ experience sound familiar? We develop an interest in something or someone, but our initial enthusiasm wanes after a while. I’m sure we can recall a situation where our impulse and infatuation was short lived and less than satisfying. Can the same be said about our romance with Jesus?
Read Revelation 2:2-7.
This account of followers of Christ at the second half of the first century can be very instructive. The believers in Ephesus were strongly urged to repent and to return to God, their first love (v 4). They endured a lot of hardship and even disapproved of the wrong practices of the Nicolaitans (v 4-5). But God wanted more of them. He wanted their heart more than their godly objections to less-than-God-honoring behavior. This shows how passionately God feels about our personal relationship with Him.
When each of us first met and received Jesus as Lord, our excitement was palpable. We shared with family and friends who the Lord was to us and what he had done in our lives. We could not help talking about what we had seen and heard. We eagerly sought to spend time in order to get to know God through prayer, worship, and Scripture. Once our zeal is interrupted, zapped, stopped, and/or weakened, life seem to return to normal and our love for God turns lukewarm. We tend to do our spiritual pursuits or holy habits out of duty rather than love.
Have other things or even people replaced your love for Him? We live in a busy, distracting world, don’t we? That means we have to face the reality of spiritual checkups now and then, even as we balance our checkbook, get our teeth cleaned every six months, and so on.
Grow devotionally. If you have replaced your first love with something or someone else, how can you renew your romance with God? It’s time to rekindle your intimacy with Jesus.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz