CHOOSE LIFE, AND RETURN TO YOUR FIRST LOVE
by Ray E Horton
Christians need to make up their minds now. Spiritual things are accelerating as the darkness in the world gets darker and the light in God’s people gets brighter.
Christians can no longer live with a foot in each world, proclaiming Christ, yet complacently loving the ways of the world. No more hypocritical lifestyles in these last days. It is time to choose one way or the other, hot or cold, not lukewarm.
Growing from Glory to Glory
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...” (Rom 12:2). Our minds are key as we guard our hearts. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).
Return to your first love, says the Lord, to that time when I first revealed myself to you
Let us surrender our lives fully to Him and His ways, by His grace. We can’t do it on our own. As we focus on our relationship with Jesus and look into the mirror of the Word (renewing our minds) to who He has made us to be, His righteousness in us will produce a more and more holy life, as we grow from glory to glory. With unveiled faces, no longer hidden from the truth, we look at the glory of the Lord that is in us (see 2 Cor. 3:18) and allow it to transform us.
Remember, when you were Born Again, you were faced with a choice: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life” (Deut. 30:19). We did, and became new creations in Jesus, received the Holy Spirit and experienced the love of God. But many have grown cold.
“Return to your first love, says the Lord, to that time when I first revealed myself to you.”
Choose Life Again
We need to “choose life” again, this time, not for salvation, but for walking out that life that was put inside us
The ways of the world steal our joy and peace and all the character-building fruit that Jesus wants us to experience in the Spirit. We need to “choose life” again, this time, not for salvation, but for walking out that life that was put inside us. That was always His intention for us, that we’d keep the fire burning, and allow Him to use us to contribute to the advance of His Kingdom in the here and now.
When the Lord says to “return to your first love,” what does He mean? I believe He is calling us to re-focus on our relationship with Him.
Spending time in His presence brings back the joy. Choosing to surrender again and deciding to be available to Him, then reaching out in His name, also restores the joy of our salvation.
We also keep ourselves experiencing the love of God as we build ourselves up in faith while praying in the Spirit. “But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith. Pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God…” (Jude 20-21).
And let us not forget to avoid the worldly distractions that are ever before us to keep us so busy we neglect the Lord within. It may be watching too much TV or wasting time on screens of all types. Or it may be normally good things that we have made into idols by putting them before the Lord, even things like family, job, education, sports, even Christian service, when it is at the expense of our relationship with Jesus.
Sell Out Once More
“First love” in scripture comes from Rev. 2:4, addressed to the Ephesian church. “But I have something against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your candlestick from its place, unless you repent. But this you have: You hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” Rev. 2:4-6). The doctrine of the Nicolaitans is compromise with the world.
God really dislikes such compromise. He loves us and is calling us higher. Let us respond, selling out once more to His will and His way as we put our trust in Hm. Let us let go of our ways for His and be available for His use in these last days, which will fulfill our destinies, advance the Kingdom and help to bring in the end-time harvest.