3: The Center
Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014Print
About Come to Me, Your First Love Series
A 3-part series on the danger of being so enamored with doctrine and knowledge that we miss the Supreme Object - our First Love, Himself!
The first message, the foundational demand of Church life, was given to Ephesus.
“You have left your first love.”
Ephesus’ spiritual heights, her severe purity, her central focus, were compromised for the sake of ministry, serving human complexity, and its work of discernment, service, learning. Work for the Lord had swallowed devotion to the Lord.
But I have this [one charge to make] against you:
that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first
[you have deserted Me, your first love].
Revelation 2:4 Amplified
As a warning to Ephesus, it is the inevitable stress of all who serve and obey. His faithful followers are the susceptible, those who knew a deep experience of First Love. Service takes a progressing precedent over focus and interest. And Christ becomes secondary.
Jesus is the Son of Love. Love begot Him. Love is the name of His nature and His Father. And while we were made for “good works” the work of serving, for the discerning the false, and to share His sufferings… never can we leave Jesus’ first need, which is our devoting to Him: first-place-love, an exclusive adoration above all. Beyond every other affection, to love Christ. Superior to all heart ties, bound to Him. Supreme intimacy given only… to Him.
Christianity is a busy company, burdened as knowing the Only Living Solution to a world in the unending crisis of death. Our tasks of God’s glorious will are capable of swallowing our heart’s direction and obscuring Him who is… the Only Reason.
The departure is subtle. It happens too easily. A slight turn of the head and you have gone to another direction. False crises, clamoring duties claim your thoughts. And when your thoughts leave Him, your heart leaves Him.
A small distraction to the eye: you look at human quagmires. And when your gaze leaves Him, your heart leaves Him.
Christ would have us ever begin in Love, motivated by Love as steeped in His Love and from there… to walk the practical byways. Love always first, nurtured in secret, secured by intimacy, kept alive by conscious need… this is the pleasure of the King.
Outside of this, Jesus is ever unpleased. Completely unpleased! No matter what else is commendable, there is nothing that secures His presence and gains His pleasure, except Love. The purpose of our existence is to give Him pleasure. Not humanity. To serve His agenda, not our ambitions.
Do you know the inmost core of Jesus’ pleasure? Do you understand Christ’s first desire, a need we are meant to – able to – satisfy?
It is this: merely to be an available recipient of His unending, unfathomable, unimaginable Love… and by the fullness of His affection, to return His love in wonder and joy, first to Him. Only then to beam that secret Love onto the world.
God has made us ‘fit to share His kingdom.’ For the purpose that we labor for Him? No! but for the glorious purpose of experiencing, sharing, and giving back to Him… God’s amazing Love.
He has rescued us from the domain of darkness,
and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son of His love.
Colossians 1:13 NASB
So when you leave Love as the first issue, the central priority, you have left the Son behind. You have abandoned Him in the place where you last loved Him. Jesus never moves from Love. He dwells ever on the foundation of His Love. It is we who move away. By fullness with which He fills us and by the energy He gives us, we move on past Him whose sole interest and highest purpose is… Love.
By the very faithfulness He demands,
we are unfaithful to His heart.
Through the work He commissions,
we fail the labor of surrendering to Love.
We left. We did not get pushed. We never were robbed. We left that which is our sole purpose. Our only fulfillment… and His as well. And ever – as Ephesus proves – life can be that which we choose above the One Love who chose us!
Copyright © 2004 Martha Blaney Kilpatrick, Come to Me, Your First Love