Do you remember what it was like when you were first in love? I can remember the feeling of butterflies in my stomach, the excitement of thinking about them, looking forward to spending time with them, doing special things for them, and talking to the person I loved. I couldn’t wait to talk or be with them!
That is what God wants in our relationship with Him. He desires to spend time with us and us with Him by worshiping, praying, and reading His Word. But God not only loves us, but He is good and has good things for us (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28).
Love isn’t just a feeling but a choice. God the Father showed His love for us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins to reconcile us to Himself and live through Him (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9). Jesus reconciled us and made peace with the Father through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:19-20).
Love fulfills the law or the commandments (Matthew 22:36 – 40; Romans 13:10). Jesus told us the answer about how to love God in John 14:15; “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” We are to love God and walk in love. We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19). Love puts Him first and obeys what He says to do.
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:10
But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this, we know that we are in Him. 1 John 2:5
I had a revelation of God’s love in my life when I gave my heart and life back to Jesus on July 29, 1979. Three years before this encounter with Jesus, I had a devastating relationship breakup, and I walked away from the Lord. During those three years, I knew I was not living as I should be, and there was a war going on in my heart, tearing it apart. I wanted to trust God and get right with Him, but I felt I couldn’t trust Him because I thought He had failed me.
One day I was singing the worship song to the Lord, “I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you.” As I was singing, I heard Jesus say to my heart and mind, “If you love Me, you’ll obey Me.” His words took me by surprise, but I knew the scripture verse in the Bible as John 14:15. It was at that moment, on July 29, 1979, that I knew that I had to make a decision for or against Christ. I had grown up in a Christian home and learned about God’s love. But I never really knew His love personally. I thought I had to be good so He would accept and love me.
I reflected on the times that He had kept me safe, provided for me, and continued to draw me back to Him through the Holy Spirit’s conviction during the three years that I was away from the Lord. The Bible says it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance (Romans 2:4), and that is what I experienced as I reflected on His love and goodness for me.
I asked Him to forgive me, repented of my sin, and surrendered my life back to Him. Instantly I felt the restoration of my fellowship with Him and an outpouring of His love upon me. That was the beginning of a new and intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I wanted to spend time with Him in prayer, worship, and meditating on His Word. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning to spend time with Him and think about Him throughout the day. I didn’t want to go to work, but I had to. I soon learned that He would go with me during my day and that I didn’t have to leave Him behind. I thought about Him and spoke to Him, and He spoke with me throughout my day. I experienced not only first love but true love!
“Therefore, I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47
We must guard against being distracted by the things of the world that would lead us astray from His presence and love. We are to come out from the world and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). We must not compromise because the world is doing it. We must not allow and go back to the things we used to do before Christ that do not glorify Him or things He has told us to let go of. He does not want us to remain or go back into bondage from the enemy.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Colossians 1:13
We are called to holiness and to grow in holiness. (1 Peter 1:16). To be holy means to be set apart or separated unto. Idols need to be removed. An idol is anything in our lives that we put first before the Lord. When we allow deception and hardness of heart to come in, we are susceptible to the enemy’s lies. We must walk in God’s truth and love.
The church needs cleansing as well as our own lives. Jesus is preparing us to be His glorious bride without spot or blemish (Revelation 19:7-9; Ephesians 5:25-32). We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and allow His power to be revealed in and through us. We are the body of Jesus Christ on the earth and are called to release His kingdom wherever we go. Jesus warns us against leaving our first love for Him not because He is God or created us but because He is love. Everything we need comes from Him and is released through His love in us!
“Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.” Revelation 2:4-5
When we lose sight of His love and commandments by going our own way, we experience negative consequences. He gives us any commandments to keep us safe in His love. Remember how He wanted to walk with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to fellowship with them until their disobedience changed their relationship and they experienced separation from Him (Genesis 2:8-3:24).
So likewise, our Heavenly Father experiences the pain of love when we walk away from Him and don’t dwell or abide in Him, receiving His love. However, His heart has not changed. That is why He sent His Son Jesus Christ to restore our relationship with Him. He doesn’t want to keep good things from us but give us eternal and abundant life (John 3:16; 10:10). Therefore, we must have a correct perspective on who God is so that we can love and trust Him.
God’s heart is yearning for you! He wants a deeper love walk with you. Therefore, we must position ourselves for more of Him, get our hearts right and walk in holiness and obedience. Jesus says, “Come away with Me” (Mark 6:31) even as He slipped away from the busyness of His life and spent time with the Father (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; 6:46; Luke 6:12). We need to begin with His love, and everything we do must start from His love. We need to be all in! Because we love Jesus, everything we do in our Christian walk should be done because we love Him, not because we have to, i.e., tithing, reading the Bible, praying, etc. Keeping our first love for Him is not a one-time event but a daily surrender!
If you have been away from Him, turn your heart back to Him! God wants the restoration of your relationship and to manifest His love! So, ask His forgiveness and repent for anyplace in your life you have turned from your first love of Him. Then, ask the Holy Spirit what you need to do to restore intimacy in your relationship with the Father and obey what He tells you to do. Our love for Him grows as we spend time in His presence through worship, prayer, and meditating on the Word of God and by putting Him first! Then, when you have a revelation of God’s love, you can’t help but love Him and share His love with others!
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life, I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.” Psalm 91:14 – 16
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.