The priority of God’s people is always to keep returning to our first love.
What if we truly did this? How much more clear and focused would our lives be? How much more at peace would we be? I hear so many friends and strangers argue about an issue and angrily proclaim, “Well, this is what God would want/not want, so we have to make it happen. I’m not going to back down. I’m intent on doing his will. He gets all the glory.” But are we truly glorifying God with a “plow ’em down” attitude? Or we approach it from another angle, “I’m just gonna love. There’s no need to get upset about anything. I don’t need to get angry. God’s got this. I’m going to be patient and let him do his thing.” Does God always want us to wait it out? Why do we get so consumed with our response?
What if we constantly posture ourselves in God’s presence? I think that would clarify some things. After all, we can wrongly contextualize just about anything in God’s Word. We can use God’s Word to justify and explain any action we take (or do not take). I do not want to minimize God’s Word in the least. He directs, challenges, corrects, and encourages us through it. God’s Word is alive and active as we engage with him through it. But do we go to God’s Word to engage with God, or do we go to find a specific word that we can apply? Do we want answers from him more than we want intimacy with him?
The reference to first love in Scripture is in the book of Revelation: But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (2:4) Maybe we haven’t abandoned God but have we underprioritized him? Have we let the things of God get in the way and dilute our closeness with God? I know we don’t like to think our religion is more important than God, because…well…Pharisees, but I think we have to at least consider it. If we step close to God and learn and grow, then step away and try to respond to anything with a disconnect from God—even when our intention is to honor him—we can quickly (or even very slowly over time) become satisfied in that disconnect. Then what we live out as God’s truth dilutes what people experience as the character of God. Instead of honoring him, we teeter just close enough to feel okay yet just far enough away to create confusion. It’s sort of like a faulty game of telephone. When we “keep returning,” we are constantly aware that we step away from the source. We’re relatively close, but seven degrees of separation is still separation. Getting everything you take in from third parties isn’t enough. Hanging with a group of friends who are well-disciplined and encouraging is not enough. Going through the motions isn’t enough.
I don’t intend to be anything but encouraging with this post. We all fall short. We all deceive ourselves with what we think is all we can do, but it’s not as much about doing as being. It’s our posture of faith. We don’t find faith in the fringes; we find God at the core. He is—always.
Let’s always return to God with more than our behaviors. Let’s humbly return to him with our hearts, minds, and souls.