The photo is of my Grandma Enroth's Swedish Bible given to her at her confirmation in 1889. She was probably living in Malmo, Sweden at the time. I enjoy seeing which verses she underlined. She also pressed flowers among the pages and I find myself wondering why these flowers were special to her. A family treasure to be sure! I'll share the verses at another time.Spring is here in Southern California and we've been hopping around like bunnies.....a day at Camp Pendleton, a day at Knotts Berry Farm which is on the edge of L.A. and Orange County, a day with the Special Olympic golf team in Palm Desert and helping a son with a 're-do' of his home, new flooring, paint and all!
Even when I'm not sitting at my computer, the Lord fills my head with His thoughts and wisdom to share with you. During the past few days He's brought to mind a passage from Revelation 2:4. The Lord is addressing the church at Ephesus. He acknowledges many good things that they have done, and then tells them......
"Yet I have this against you: you have forsaken your first love".
This is one of the first Revelation verses that perked my interest and sent me scurrying around Scripture to gain further understanding. I think back to those first days of being a believer. I didn't feel like I was 'searching' for anything, not even THE TRUTH. Life wasn't perfect, there were challenges, but I innately knew that we were not always able to be in control of our circumstances. I had great faith in myself.
Then one day, God sovereignly made me spiritually alive! And I hadn't even known I was spiritually dead. I recognized that this new-found faith had not been generated by me, but was a gift. Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God..." . I was so grateful and so in love with Jesus. My focus was on Him, and Him alone. I wasn't worried about 'church' and 'good works', I simply immersed myself in God's Word. Thank you to my friend Glenna for being the spark that ignited my love for studying the Word of God.
What happens next to most new believers, is that we get caught up in worldly Christianity - going, doing, finding the right study, teaching, debating theology, debating church music, Sunday School programs, and which 'mission' is worthy of our money, etc. a friend once shared that there was a point in her Christian life when she thought it was great to know the Lord and be assured of going to heaven, but all this other 'stuff' was so cumbersome, and at times, guilt producing (am I doing enough?) she almost didn't want to tell anyone about Jesus and see them get caught up in 'the Christian life'! Then, there is another issue.....when we are successful in doing a lot of 'good' things, we get proud. And what is worse, we judge the person who isn't doing much in the way of Christian activity as being, well, sub-Christian.
Soon, we are living a 'me-centered' life, and we've lost our first love, Jesus. The thrill of just knowing Him, watching Him work in our lives, being in awe of Him is just gone. Along with that, we lose some of the joy and passion that initially motivated us to want to share our faith. We view God's Kingdom humanly, not spiritually. Christianity isn't about being religious, it's about a relationship with the One who literally holds the universe together. Really!
"He is before all things and in him all things hold together." Colossians 2:17.
Modern day science can teach us many things, but they don't seem to have full comprehension of exactly what (or who) holds the atom together. Hey, ask a Christian, they can tell you, it's Jesus!
Jesus goes on to say in Rev. 2 that we need to remember 'the good old days' and turn back (change our behavior) or He'll remove our 'lampstand', which refers to the church. Don't picture 'church' as a building, but rather the body of believers. We who believe are the church.
Remember when God exhorts us, it's for our own good. He is our 'Heavenly Father' after all and like an earthly father, He wants what is best for His children. He wants us to live a life of joy and satisfaction and in order to do that, we need to get the outside (our flesh) to match the inside, which is filled with the Holy Spirit. As a believer, our 'position' in Christ is never in jeopardy! He wants to be our focus, not worldly stuff! He knows that this is the only way we can have peace and joy in this world. Don't look around, just look up!
In Revelation 1:17 -18 Jesus tells us not to be afraid. He is the 'First and the Last' (beginning and the end), was dead and now is alive forever. Because He lives, we who believe, will live also.
Thank you Lord that by your grace and gift of faith, you are alive in me, my first love, and all I need!