"Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds that you did at first." Revelation 2:5
"I don't love her any more." Those simple words have been spoken to me by husbands, over and over again, during the past 38 years of ministry. I have heard similar words expressed by wives who have had enough and aren't going to take anymore. It seems there is an unwritten, but consistent script out there, and it keeps getting passed from one generation to another. Whenever a man or a woman wants to dissolve the union that God put together they will play what they believe to be their final trump card. They are always surprised and often irritated at my response.
"Start again!" When I tell a person that their loss of love for their mate is no "Get out of jail free" card for Christian marriage, it really puts a kink in their plans to escape "the old ball and chain." Open hostility is often easier to deal with in a marriage than cold hearted apathy. Dr. John Bisagno would often say, "It is impossible to hatch eggs in a refrigerator." He was right. The warmth of someones disdain is more conducive to the reheating a broken heart than the cold dead ashes of broken dreams that have no spark left in them.
It is not an easy road to recovery in a marriage or in a personal love relationship with Jesus. The hardest part is to admit that Jesus has not grown cold in his love for us, but we have drifted apart from Him. This personal, introspective admission is embarrassing. It is a kind of spiritual checkup that has been postponed too long and now the results of the diagnosis are feared. In its early stages, it is dreaded like a child's phobia of needles. The more delay that builds up between checkups, it leads to a false conviction that the cure is going to kill us. Satan is always lying to us about how little Jesus loves us.
An old Texas, preacher joke reminds us of our personal responsibility for any condition of lost love between us and Jesus. Rancher Jake and his wife Jane were riding into town on Saturday morning in their old pickup truck. Jane was hugging the passenger side door, and wistfully looking out the window, and said in a woeful voice, "Jake, we used to ride into town side by side, and squeezed up close together. Why don't we do that anymore." Jake responded, "I ain't moved!"
What does it take to get back to a first love relationship with Jesus? He told the Church at Ephesus that he expected them to do the things they did at first. The first step they took was going to have to be a recognition that He was not the source of the problem, but He was the source of the solution. They were going to have to move in His direction (repent) and do again (redo) the things that were once so vital to their love relationship.
When I met Dana, I couldn't believe what happened to me. I had never been a fan of love at first sight, but she changed all that in an instant. When she walked into my life, I was stunned into the harsh reality that my self-sufficient existence was woefully inadequate without her in it. I was faced with the real possibility that my life would not be complete unless she chose to share her life with me. That September, Monday night in 1974, we sat at a card table at Lowell and Shirley Thomas' home, and shared a potluck supper with other single adults from their single adult Sunday School class. I do not remember the food, the decor of the room, what was on TV or even the words that transpired between us that night. All I can remember about that evening is Dana. She stepped into my life and rocked my world. I found that when I was not with her, I missed her. I jumped whenever the phone rang, and answered it with the hope that the person on the other line might be Dana. I looked for her when I was at church. Not casually, or indifferently, but I sought her out. I followed the scent of her perfume, "Cachet," like a relentless, hound dog. When I found her, I spoke to her with words that were chosen to build her up, and build a bridge between us. During the week, I found time to call her, or to think about her. She was so much on my mind that I could squeeze her into any and every conversation that I had. If someone wanted to talk about the Cowboys, I would segue with, "You know that reminds me about Dana." Even if my fellow seminarians wanted to talk about church related matters, I would shift the conversation to Dana. Well, I have to stop this heart warming journey down memory lane or I will never finish this blog. I wonder if the warmth I feel for her in my heart right now is why Jesus encouraged His followers to remember.
How does someone remember, repent and redo the things that restore a relationship with Jesus that was once such a vital part of their life. After reflection on Dana for a few moments, some ideas have come to my mind that may warm our hearts for Jesus.
- Miss Him.
- Talk to Him.
- Write to Him.
- Look for Him.
- Listen to Him.
- Walk with Him.
- Talk about Him.
- Read about Him.
- Think about Him.
- Make time for Him.
- Spend time with Him.
- Don't rush away from Him.
- Say a good word about Him.
- Cast all your cares upon Him.
Can you see the curve that is made by the list above. It symbolically reflects a change of mind and a change of direction. Don't wait for the right feeling before you begin doing what is right. Obey your way into a new way of feeling. It is never too late to begin, and it is never to soon to start a restoration of first love. Remember Jake? Jesus ain't moved either. He is right where you left your first love.