First Love

In the episode Wedding Bells for Aunt Bea, Aunt Bea is convinced she should marry Fred Goss, the dry cleaner, because she thinks she’s hampering Andy from pursuing marriage for himself. The trouble is, she can hardly stand to be around him. She fools everyone around her until Opie, recently educated on love from Andy, asks her if she has that deep-down-inside love feeling for Mr. Goss.

It’s the one time she can’t pretend. She sits still as a statue, tears welling in her eyes.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus speaks about a church that has lost it’s “first love” (from the NASB). Revelation 2:4 (NIV) says,

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”

When we become believers, we love Christ with the sort of love Andy’s talking about: the deep-down-inside love. But over time, something often happens to that love. We let the love become battered by things that happen to us. Time erodes our love and, before we even know it, we find it wasn’t what it was.

Sometimes I think genuine believers sit like Aunt Bea, still as a statue, tears welling in their eyes, as they try to love God as they once did. Maybe they feel wounded by Him. Maybe they are struggling to trust Him. Maybe they wonder if He’s really love. Maybe they’re frightened that, in the end, they’ll be disappointed by Him.

The words that describe the church in Revelation remind me of how Aunt Bea tried to act towards Mr. Goss: “hard work” . . “perseverance” . . “persevered” . . “endured hardships” and “not grown weary”.

All of these things are gifts from God, but only when they are given through love. Jesus says to the church in Revelation,

“Consider how far you have fallen!” (v. 5a)

Here there’s a big difference between Aunt Bea and us. Aunt Bea never loved Fred Goss, and had good reason not to. But we are captivated by the love of our Savior when we first meet Him. At least, I hope we are. How sad if a believer has never truly grasped how much (s)he is loved by God!

As our faith is tested, we can so easily hold onto our tenacity and let go of our affection. After all, in a dangerous or difficult situation, it seems far more important to cling to courage than to cling to romance. And yet this is the very thing that the church in Revelation represented by Ephesus needs!

During practical times, we tend to look at romance as non-essential. Yet it is the “deep down kind of love” we have for Jesus that makes every good quality of our character matter. This issue of non-love is so severe that Jesus warns,

If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (v. 5c)

How do we get back that first “deep down kind of love”? This verse tells us. We “repent”.

We find favor with God when we go before Him and plead for Him to forgive us for treating Him like Mr. Goss instead of as the Redeemer of even the most fragile heart and the Savior of even the weakest soul, the Ransom for even the tightest bound captive and the Healer of even the most shattered leper.

Why not right now, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stop and thank God for loving you so much . . and cry out to receive a deep down love for Him?

Published in: on August 1, 2014 at 10:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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