Do you remember your first love?

Do you remember your first love? The time when during grade school, that girl or boy somehow didn’t look the same as they did last year. Suddenly there is the flutter in your chest as you stand frozen in time, and get caught staring when that special person turns around and looks your way. I think everyone has some type of memory of his or her first love. It’s embedded in our minds because of the impact it had on our hearts.

Unfortunately, not everyone marries his/her first love. To some, the memory becomes a thankful “unanswered prayer” while to others it is “the one who got away.” As we mature and gain experience in relationships, we understand that love is more than just the pitter-patter of the heart, but involves commitment, responsibility, and determination. To love, is to choose to love.

So why is it that we lose interest in our “first love”? Maybe as we pursue the relationship we find that our differences in taste are too great. Or we find qualities that may not be what we expected. But most of the time it seems that the reason we move away from our first love is because something else steals our attention. It can happen subtly. The fire turns to embers, the desire to spend time is less, influence of other friends turn away the heart, and other things begin to be more important.

There was a church in the Bible in the city of Ephesus who was on fire for Jesus. They defended His name, worked hard and long for Him to let everyone know about who He was and what He was about. Yet somehow in the middle of everything they were doing day-to-day they kind of forgot about the One they were doing it for. Jesus ended up writing a letter to them thru the apostle John begging them to stop and evaluate what they were doing, and why they were doing it. He told them to do three things. Remember. Turn around. Put first things first. (Revelation 2:5)

Do you remember when you used to love to go to church? When you open the Bible and it was like God was sitting beside you, reading it to you? When you couldn’t wait to pray and feel the presence of God come in the room? When all you could talk about was how good, merciful, and amazing God was in your life? Today we are living in a world that Matthew wrote about when he penned the words of Jesus talking to them about the last days. Jesus said that “because most people will forget about God’s law, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). In other words, people will just tend to lose their love for God because they will start blending in with the society around them that never loved God in the first place. Jesus said it another way in the gospel of Luke. “Watch out! Be on guard, lest your hearts become dulled and weighed down with the multiple distractions, excessive pleasures, and cares of this life…and that day suddenly comes on you like a trap!” (Luke 21:34)

Most people don’t stop loving God because they hate Him. They just get too busy. Too many other things take their time. And they become influenced by the “friends” around them that had no love for God in the first place. These friends tell them that other activities, relationships, and things are more important than God. Then, before they know it, they miss out on marrying their first love.

In this time when we celebrate love, let’s take the advice of Jesus to the church of Ephesus. Let’s Remember: Remember God’s love for us. For God so loved the world, that He gave…

Let’s Turn Round: Stop and evaluate where you are, and start going back to the place you know you left. Maybe it’s the church you attended. The Bible you left on the shelf. The quiet place you prayed.

Let’s Put First Things First: Renew that commitment you once had. Make the choice, and the feelings will follow. You will find the love toward your family, your spouse, and even your enemies will grow, once you go back and pursue … your first love.

The writer is the pastor of Northtowne Church of God, Sidney.