As some of you may know, I’m reviewing my old journals. Last week, it became apparent to me that I am to scrutinize the journals looking for God moments (to be recorded into their own special book). I later realized I am to examine my heart along the way. And I sure hope someone else is doing this along with me. Anyway, I cannot seem to move beyond the first three pages of my first journal. I’m stuck there!! Because those first three pages are completely telling. I can see exactly what I was focused on, simply by the titles of the two books I read. On 4/5/10 I read The Prayer of Jabez, and on 4/13/10 I read A Life God Rewards. Both of these are wonderful books. However, with what I’m learning about me, I’m seeing something ugly. I told you, this blog should be called “the ugly truth about God & me!”
I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with what Jabez prayed. Basically, he asked God to bless him. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, because I followed up with a book about reward, I think it’s pretty obvious where my heart lay just under three years ago. “Bless me, Oh Lord,” and “Reward me, Oh Lord.” That’s where I was almost three years ago, and I just have to ask myself today, have I moved on from that state of mind? Or, am I camped out at blessing and reward for me, just as I’m camped out over the first three pages of my old journal? If I am camped out at blessing and reward for me, and I believe I am, then what’s missing from my life? What do I lack? Because I can assure you, I have been striving to know God. I have been striving to please Him. I have been striving to serve Him. And you know what, I believe that’s my answer right there. I’ve been striving, and I’ve been laboring. And so, from a letter that John penned to the church of Ephesus, I think it’s clear what’s missing from my life…
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Revelation 2:2-4.
Where’s the love? Apparently, I’ve left my first love… God. Because if I really loved God, wouldn’t I be concerned with what He’s concerned with. Don’t we care about what our loved ones care about? And since God cares for people, shouldn’t I? You know, this past year, I have been praying to know God’s love. Not just to have it for other people, but that I would know how very much He loves me. See, I have that knowledge in my head, but for the life of me, I cannot seem to feel His love. Not for me, and not for those in need around me. I can’t say that I’ve truly experienced the love of God. I know, I know, wise Christians will tell me that I can’t base my salvation or relationship with God on my feelings. Feelings are fickle, and I’m only human. But, doesn’t God want me to feel His love? What prohibits me from feeling it? Well, Revelation 2:5 tells me, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…”
So, from where have I fallen, and what are those first works? Well, it began in February of 1997. That’s when I became His. That’s when I realized how much God loves me, because He gave His only begotten Son for me. That’s when He became my first, true love. Because He is True and He is Love. But, it wasn’t long before I fell away from Him. He is from where I have fallen… and those first works? What does Jesus tell us? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” And He says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And again, “You’ve neglected the weightier matters of the law; justice and mercy and faith,” and again, “But go and learn what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” All of this begins with love, and love covers a multitude of sins. And if we can simply remember how much He loves us, to death, then we should be able to love Him wholeheartedly and sincerely. So much so, that we naturally do all those things He commands us to do.
You know, it was two and a half years ago I purposed to know God. It began with knowledge. I wanted to know about God, and the things He required of me. And so, the knowledge of God soon turned to a true desire to spend time with Him. And I believe this blog is the fruit of that prayer. Because through the blog, I realized I was to go through my journals again. And through the search of my old notes, God is ushering me straight into the light and warmth of His love. It’s through this journal review that God is showing me just how much He loves me. He was my first true love, but over time, I forgot. But He reminds me of my first love… He reminds me of Himself.
And so, for this reason I shall bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. I pray that I, and that those reading this, will be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- that we all may know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that we may all be filled with the fullness of God (taken from Ephesians 3:14-19).
See, I started by gaining knowledge. But the love of Christ surpasses that knowledge. And when the truth of how very deeply God really loves me settles in my heart, I will have no trouble doing the first works. Because when I return to Him, my first love, my heart will begin to resemble His. And He loves people. Perhaps as the days go on, my outlook will be more about blessing them than about blessing me.