Those of us who came to faith in Christ later in life remember well the change that took place in our hearts. Please understand that I am not talking about a change that led us to a life of perfection; rather, I am talking about a change that led us in a new direction, a divine direction that was paved for us by the sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, with Jesus on the throne of our lives, for the very first time we had . . .
- New desires
- New goals
- New visions
- New plans
- New thoughts
- New agendas
- New purposes
- New meaning
- New significance
- New love
The list, of course, could go on for several pages. The apostle Paul exulted that:
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
Truly, nothing compares to the very first time we were captivated by the mercy, grace, and love of God in Christ Jesus. To be fully forgiven and unconditionally loved was to experience something like the weight of the world lifting off of our shoulders. We were running on all cylinders, making our way through life with freedom, joy, and faithfulness to Jesus.
But, as all too often happens, we have on occasion lost that loving feeling!
Life seems to get in the way of our love for Jesus. We remove Jesus from the throne of our lives and begin living for self rather than the Savior. We drift back into our own plans and purposes, our dreams and desires, and before we know it we find ourselves once again living for something much, much smaller than Jesus. Often it takes a storm to send us reeling back to our Savior, so that we can once again plant our feet firmly on the Rock of Ages.
Regardless of where this message finds you today, the goal of the Christian life is to keep Christ at the center. May it never be said of us what was said about the church at Ephesus: “You have lost your first love” (Revelation 2:4).
When we find ourselves drifting in the wrong direction, there are two things we must do: repent and return to our Redeemer. The life of the disciple of Christ is marked by repentance and returning. When we realize that we have left our first love, we are to cry out to Jesus with a heart filled with a godly sorrow and return Him to His rightful place—at the center of our lives—looking once again, to the Author and Finisher (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV) of our faith, who has promised to complete in us what He began (Philippians 1:6).
Some Christians who realize that they have drifted badly are afraid to turn back to God. They think things like, “I’ve blown it! How could He possibly want anything more to do with me? I’ll just go back to my old life.” When you stop to think about it, this reasoning is just as silly as Adam hiding from God in the Garden or Jonah running away from God by taking the ship to Tarshish. Recall the words of King David:
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
(Psalm 139:7-8 NKJV)
God knows you’ve blown it . . . he knows where you are . . . He is there with you . . . and His message to you is this: “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22). In Jesus Christ is all the love and forgiveness you will ever need. Return to your first love!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!