Wow wow wow, God is so good. I can’t even begin to describe how gracious my God is.
Now, I know I have been off the grid for too long. College has been some adventure, but I wanted to post this lesson I gave on First Love back in April for you to read.
Happy reading, blessings!
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.Revelations 2:2-5
3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Background of verses:
Jesus, through the Apostle John, was writing to the church in Ephesus. Jesus explains in the beginning verses that He KNOWS the good things that have been happening in the church in Ephesus, but that there is one thing missing: the First Love.
This kind of love is not the kind of first love a narrator talks about in movies, describing their first relationship to every detail, head to toe, and explaining why they loved this person so much and how it ended. Social media also has a way to describe the perfect love story that we’re supposed to be looking for. However, this kind of love is the kind of First Love that a man, called Jesus, decided to show us with His blood, with His sacrifice, because He really loves us that much.
This Love of God comes to each of us from the moment we come to believe in Jesus Christ. That love grows in us as we come to know more of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. This is from the moment we decide to name Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, giving our life fully to Him. Our love for Christ also grows as we study and obey His Word.
This Love for Christ is:
Never-ending, Sacrificial, Unconditional, Undeserving, Overwhelming, Reckless,
But then, things happen; We suddenly go through trials, find it hard to take a moment to read/study the Word, have a hard time fitting in, don’t pray as often as we should be doing. And that’s where a lot of us fail to recognize God’s true love, the First Love we fell for in the beginning. We forget the suffering Jesus went through to gift us with salvation, we forget the people who were devoted to Jesus and who lived worthy to His Word, whom later on suffered horrible deaths.
We love Christ so little. We forget what He has done for us.We forget the many times He forgives us when we absolutely do not deserve it.
And that can happen, it’s not supposed to, but it happens. We often times distract ourselves with different kinds of love. The Bible talks about different kinds of love like phileo (brotherly or materialy) and eros (sexually) and others mentioned in the Bible. In today’s love, we distract ourselves with those exact kinds of love, especially in our ages that we’re at.
It’s so unfortunate to see the youth of today find love in places they’re not supposed to be looking. It is also unfortunate to me to see people think others will give them the love that God can fill them with. There’s nothing wrong with the love of family and friends, but it is wrong when we validate it as our only source of love.
And I’ve talked about this on a few occasions, and that’s dating. A lot of us understand that we are supposed to wait until we’re ready to get married to be able to start dating. And pastor talked about this many times. Now, going over to the Gospels when Jesus was asked what was the most important commandment, Jesus tells them these three important things:
1. LOVE the Lord Your God first of all, above all;
2. LOVE yourself;
3. THEN LOVE your neighbor.
Now the reason I put it in this order is so that you can try and understand why the First Love starts with God.
So, let me break it down:
- Deuteronomy 6:5 gives the first commandment that we must obey;
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
So, first of all, we are to love God FIRST with EVERYTHING. And I know it may sound easy and I also know that it might sound hard, because truly saying I love you is much easier than actually doing or showing this. And this is where AGAPE love comes back: unconditionally, sacrificial, unlimited. Once we understand this and actually do this, we can go to the next step.
- After loving God with all of you, you can start to love yourself the way God loves you. You recognize the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. (Galatians 2:20)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
You start to understand that if God loves you as you are, you should love yourself as you are. obviously, doing what is right. Again, we see AGAPE love come back, because with this unconditional love from God, we reflect it back TO God by loving God and ourselves.
- By loving yourself the way God loves you, you start to learn to love others, as God has loved you. Once again, AGAPE love. Why? Because this unconditional love that we received FROM God, give TO God, we later on GIVE to others so they may reflect this love also back TO God. (John 13:34-35)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
This love comes back from God every time.
And it’s truly amazing, because you come to understand that God’s love never fails, never grows weary, never becomes less. Here’s what God’s love is, His AGAPE love:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
And then, there’s this part in the last verse of chapter 13:
1 Corinthians 13:13
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
So, the question is: How are we supposed to love God?
Love Him with all your heart, your mind, your soul and your strength. (Mark 12:30 & Matthew 22:37)
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1-8)
It’s about having a personal relationship. When we create strong and loving relationships, we take time to get to know a person, spend time with them, learn to cherish every moment with them. IN a relationship with Christ, it’s important to learn how to FALL IN LOVE with the Savior.
What kind of things are in the way of us finding our First Love for Christ?
- Seeking love in other things/people instead of in the Lord;
- Thinking God’s love has limits to it;
- Distractions of the world.
So, what are you going to do to reclaim your First Love?
- SEEK more of God with ALL your heart (Jeremiah 29:13);
- Spend more time in God’s Word, studying, reading, and obeying it.
- Apply the Word of God in your life, don’t just read through it;
- Pray more often and ask God to help you reclaim your First Love;
- Tune the world out and focus on God.
- Start with 15 minutes of Bible reading and studying every morning or evening.
- Start by reading through the letters of I John, II John, III John, then Gospel of John
- Start by memorizing one verse a week
Hope you guys liked this little lesson on First Love. It was a good refreshment for myself to read through it once again! LOVE GOD FIRST.