THAT FIRST LOVE FEELING
Recently, we started up an older girls class called Kindle, because I don’t know about you, but my faith is definitely a lot less strong and my relationship with God is a whole lot weaker than when I was younger, first baptised, going to Study Weeks and Conferences and doing mission work. That’s why lately, I’m feeling the need to try to regain my first love, to live a life that was all about serving God, to rekindle my fire. It’s one thing to say it, but how can we actually get our first love back? How can we actually get excited to serve God again? How do we develop that close relationship with God and Jesus again?
Have you ever experienced a Sunday morning when you just didn’t even really know why you were there except out of habit? That you were just going through the motions but not really taking in the significance of what you were doing when taking the bread and wine? Have you ever found yourself offering repetitive prayers for meals but not really meaning them and that being the only time you pray to God that day? Have you found yourself going months or years without reading the bible for yourself? Have you found yourself telling people that you’re a Christadelphian and knowing in your heart that the only thing that is different about you and them is that you happen to go to Church on a Sunday instead of chilling at home? Have you found yourself thinking that the Kingdom of God is some distant thing that doesn’t even feel real or a part of the life that you’re living?
If any of these are you, know that you aren’t alone, that we all feel like this at some point in our lives. God also knows that we can sometimes get like this and there is lots of advice in the bible about how to rekindle our love for him.
Lets start by looking at some quotes:
1. 2 Tim 1 v 6-7 Timothy’s spiritual fire had cooled and was wavering so Paul was writing to him to encourage him to rekindle the spiritual fire within him. His faith was genuine but he had allowed his struggles to affect his love and dedication for God. The best way to rekindle his faith was to stir up the gift of God within – we all have a spiritual gift and when we focus on that, it will help to rekindle our faith.
2. Rom 12v11-13 Message – “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fuelled and aflame. Be alert servants of the master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.”
3. Luke 24:32 Jesus talked to 2 men lamenting his death on the road and after the discussion their hearts were set ablaze…the thing that set it ablaze was realising that Christ was front and centre of their worship.
4. Jeremiah 2:2 “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown”.
5. Revelation 2:4 “You have lost the love you had at first. Realise how far you have fallen. Repent and do the works you did at first”
All of these quotes are firstly acknowledging that its normal to lose our first love and that we can expect our spiritual fire to have cooled or even be wavering. It’s totally 100% normal, something that God not only knows about, but gives us advice on how to overcome it. Because that’s the most important thing to take from these quotes – that even though God knows our faith will waver and our first love may fade, he expects us to rekindle it. He expects us to work out how to make him the front and centre of our lives; he wants us to turn our service to him from ‘I have to’ to ‘I want to’.
THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT
Luke 10:27, Matt 22:37, Mark 12:30, Duet 6:5, Josh 22:5
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”
This is the first and most important commandment from both the Law and from Jesus, there is no disputing it, it should be the thing that guides and directs our whole lives. But does it? It is actually a super scary and life altering quote that runs throughout the whole bible, it should be directing our whole lives, but in all honesty, it doesn’t describe me at the moment. This is the quote that I thought we could use as a basis for rekindling our first love as it covers all aspects of who we are.
What are some practical ways that you can rekindle your love for God and love him with all of your heart, your soul, your strength and your mind? How can we make this quote a reality in our lives and follow this most important commandment?
How can we love God with all our heart? Our heart is the core of our being and all our emotions. So that’s the first way we are supposed to love God, with all our emotions, thoughts and yearnings that come from the very core parts of who you are inside.
· Showing love to others
· Comfort boxes
· Acts of service
· Phone calls and conversations of love and support
· Allowing God into our heart and letting him be part of who you are
· Thinking like God and Jesus and showing his love to others
· Talk to God about where you are, your fears, your doubts and anything you need to talk to him about.
· Do as God asks, keep his commandments.
How can we love God with all of our soul? Our soul is what makes us alive and fuels our passions and is a lot to do with our emotions. Love God with everything that makes us alive.
· Mindful readings
· Make it part of who we are
· Hang out with people who are like Jesus
· Spend time with God in his presence – shut the noise around you and make it a quite place to talk to God and have a relationship with him.
· Character – pursue holiness, godliness and purity and overcome the negative aspects of our character.
How can we love God with all of our strength? It means that we express our love for God via our physical body and use it to worship him. Clap our hands, bow down in worship, lift up our hands and praise his name with dancing. Physically express how much we love God – we kneel before him, lie prostrate before him and lift our hands in worship.
· Fight sin
· Physically help others; working bees, cleaning
· Visiting people in need
How can we love God with all of our mind? Our mind is our intellect, our ability to process information and derive meaning from it. It’s about knowledge, wisdom, truth and how to communicate that. So loving God with our mind means that we speak about him in speech and actions.
· Thoughts focused on God
· Fighting sin
· Photos of motivational quotes on phones/screen
· Study the bible
God knows that sometimes our love for him fades; we get distracted with life and sometimes forget how big God should be in our lives. But he asks us to rekindle our fire for him, to get back the love that we once had, to develop a crazy, life altering, God serving, Jesus following version of ourselves. He has directed us to love him with all of our Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind and that if we can do this, if we can love him because he first loved us, then we will be saved and be able to be part of something a whole lot bigger than ourselves – the amazing kingdom. So put into action at least one thing from each of the 4 areas of ourselves and serve him and love him with all of our being.