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First Love

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Ps. 139:23-24

It’s not an easy task to satisfy the human race. We are continually found wanting more. We never seem happy enough, always searching and striving but never still long enough to hear our Father’s voice. We miss out on the full experience of His presence and the goodness of His being.  Ambition for a good life can be a valuable thing and even applauded by our Lord but it also takes a backseat to the love God wants to draw out of us in authentic worship and thanksgiving. The activity of wholehearted worship and reverence toward our God takes a special kind of love. It’s a love that is continually being purified in the filter of divine humility. There is no space between our communion with God when healthy reverence is the hallmark of our unity and when we love Him not for what He can give but rather for who He is.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
   throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
   or you brought forth the whole world,
   from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:1-2

Jesus waits for us to respond to Him in love. He wants us to love Him back, no strings attached. Unfortunately the human condition has a tendency to negotiate terms and conditions. We attempt to manipulate God as if we know the better way. Let us not leave our first love behind. Apostle Peter loved Jesus but somewhere down the line his emotions got the best of him. He ended up denying Jesus before men three times just as Jesus foresaw him do. Jesus knows our hearts, he knows our fears and weaknesses and yet loves us still. He loves us with an unending love.

If we were to allow God to search our hearts, what would He find? Instead of adoring the created let us love the ultimate Adorer and Creator of all things. He is from everlasting to everlasting. Let us simply adore the beauty and majesty of His name. We have the fatal tendency to aim for instant gratification. We desperately grumble for what we think we need for a better life (i.e., greater income, prestige, advancement in careers and ministry, accolades, honor, and power). But would we love God even if His timing is not ours, or if His ways are not our ways, His thoughts greater than our own? The question Jesus posed to Peter after his denial is the same one He asks us today: Do you really love Me? Like Peter, so loved by God, let us respond with a fully captivated heart and say, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

What would happen if we would invite God to come into our hearts in a new way? What if we were to ask Him to strip away the gains and losses of this life that we might come into awareness of what love really looks like? Would we take that challenge in faith to embrace a greater love for who God is and not for what He can give. Jesus loves you unconditionally. He desires you to love with the intensity His Spirit supplies that you may grow in the confidence needed to care for others like He does. His love is matchless, let’s not deny Jesus with the swaying of emotions, the wavering distractions, comforts, excuses, or conditions. Let Him examine your heart that He may remove the idols and take us to a deeper level of communion with Him. Let us simply worship Him for who He is. He is the Great I Am, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. There is no one like our God. He is the Almighty, the one who was, who is, and who is to come!

Prayer: Lord I want to love you the way you deserve. May you be at the center of my life, where you belong. I’m sorry for making a thing out of us. Forgive me for treating you as something common. Give me a heart that worships you not for what you could possibly give but worship you out of a place of genuine love for you. A love that strips away the negotiations, selfish benefits, and ambitions. To love you from a place that desires to reach you simply to know you for who you are and not what I make of you. A love that loves you with pure longing, stemming from thanksgiving, reverence, and awe toward your name. I want to hear you and respond to your love fresh and anew. I’m here Lord. My heart, my life, my every breath is yours.

Additional verses: Ecc. 2:22; Jn. 21:15-21; Rev. 2:4; 1 Cor. 13:8; Is. 55:9; Ex. 3:14; Rev. 22:13; Rev. 1:8; Jer. 10:6; Ps. 63:3

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