First Love

1 Corinthians 2:9 “…eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Oh the wonderful thoughts this verse conjures up in our minds. The thoughts and dreams of great riches, beautiful homes, bountiful harvests, gorgeous days, great honors and glory. We dream of heaven as though we would be living the lifestyle of the rich and famous on this earth. Yet even that pales in comparison to the great riches of the LORD.

Yet I can’t help but wonder if we have ever really looked closely at this verse and read it all the way through, savoring each word and applying it to our lives. For you see, God is not a man and He does not lie. If He says He has prepared wonderful things, then He has. The crux of the matter, of course, lies in the last five words of that verse: “for them that love him.” Here is where the great breakdown begins to occur.

“for them that love him.” I know that every time this verse is read in the church, everyone in the room will smile and say “Amen!” even if it is only to themselves. Every single person sitting in a pew will declare that this verse is theirs by right of inheritance, and that they are due great riches when they get to their ‘final reward’. Yet we must ask ourselves, is that true? We must examine ourselves daily, looking for wrong motives and selfish intentions. We must ask ourselves with each good deed whether we are doing it out of love or out of duty. We must position ourselves under the mighty hand of the LORD for His correction, reproof, and instruction. We must ask ourselves daily: do I love Him?

In Revelation 2:1-4, the LORD makes a pronouncement upon the church at Ephesus. The Ephesians hated sin, and they labored mightily for the LORD’s kingdom, in great patience and without giving up. Yet, the LORD says, He holds something against them: they had left their first love. They had turned their back on the LORD of glory without realizing it, all the while they were doing kingdom work in great patience and perseverance. They hated evil and did not associate with it, yet they had left HIM behind.

Ephesus today stands as a stark reminder of what happens to those who lose their love. It is a barren wasteland – an archeological site where remnants of this long dead civilization are still being uncovered today. There are great pillars and paved streets along with partial walls of buildings and even directions to the nearest brothel carved into the stone pavers. But the city is empty, except for the tourists and archeologists. This once great city of commerce is dead because it left its first love – Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 reads “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Beloved of the LORD, we are all in the same boat together. If we are so busy working at doing, doing, doing, and failing to nurture our love relationship with the LORD, we are wasting our time. There is no reward for doing if that doing is not out of the abundance of our love for Him. In fact, not only is there no reward, but all that effort is wasted because He is just going to burn it all up. It means nothing to Him and is just so much kindling for His fire.

For many years I have been marking time, waiting for the LORD to break through and set me free. He is, as always, faithful, and has broken through this year, setting me free! And now I am anxious for Him to give me an assignment that will bring Him glory and honor. I am careful what I pick up with my hands and what I allow to consume my time, because my love for Him is great and I do not want to be preoccupied doing something else when He softly calls me to a task just for Him. My heart, my life, my love are all His, and His alone. I live for Him alone, and I listen for His voice to guide and instruct where He would have me serve. Beloved, I encourage you, if you have not already found that sweet love for Him, that you begin to pursue Him until you catch Him. It is so wonderful to be in love with the Master!

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