That Amazing First Love

Sometimes, it seems like the simplest things in the Bible are the ones I miss.  Is it because of its very simplicity that I think there must be more to it?  The specific “it” to which I refer in this post is what believers in Christ refer to as first love.

For much of my Christian life, when people spoke of their first love experience with Jesus, it was with the understanding that they wanted to return to those feelings of love, and the actions they produced for the Lord.  I felt almost sub-Christian in these conversations.  You see, my salvation experience was so different from what is considered normal, that I didn’t even know I was saved until years after the fact.  During a particularly moving pre-Easter service, more than a decade later, I actually said to the Lord, “I know I am saved, but when did it happen?”  (See my testimony for the rest of that story.)

Revelation 2:4 . . . You have forsaken your first love.

When I received Jesus, I didn’t feel that overwhelming love.  Through the years, as I fellowshipped with believers who referred to that honeymoon period of their first love with the Lord, I felt I had missed out on something.  Did God withhold from me for some reason?  Of course He didn’t, but it took a while for me to know that.  Instead of that initial overpowering experience with His love, I came to know and grow, little-by-little, in the depth and length and height and breadth of it.

All this time, it’s not been about my love for Him, but His love for me.  The more I know the love of God in Christ for me, the more I want to know of His love.  And, the more I know of His love for me, the more I love Him and everyone else.  His love – alone – is the first love.  Isn’t this so wonderfully and amazingly simple?!

1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.

Return to Simplicity

It occurs to me, as I ponder questions about how God operates – if He operates in this way or that way, why He doesn’t do this or that, etc. – that I have left the underlying and overriding Truth of salvation.  After all, what has God done in salvation?  He has sent Jesus to earth to take on my sin – past, present, and future – to suffer the excruciating agony of separation from His Father because of my sin, which actually makes the physical suffering pale in comparison (Yes, it does!) – simply so I could be born again into life in eternal relationship with Our Father!

John 3:16 NIV  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

When I simplify the whole Christian life equation, removing all the variables and all the unknowns (possibly never-knowns this side of eternity), my perspective becomes clear once again.  If Jesus would do this for me – and He did; and if Our Father would send Him to suffer for me this way – and He did; why do I insist on getting so caught up in but, what about?  God is fully trustworthy and so unlimited by my limited mind and its understanding!

Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP  5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

When I allow myself to focus on the things I don’t or can’t understand, at least for now, I begin to doubt (read this distrust) Him and His goodness, and even His motives.  But God is good!  Period.  He has given His all for all – even if I am the only one who ever received what He gave (and I know I’m not).  And He is trustworthy, even when I don’t understand.  He gave me His Word.  He gave me His Son.  He gave me His very life!

John 10:10 NIV  . . . I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

2 Chronicles 6:41 NIV  Now arise, O Lord God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might.  May your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, may your saints rejoice in your goodness.

I choose to return to the simplicity of what God has done for me.  He’s given me life.  He’s given me salvation in Jesus Christ.  Praise our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!