Remembering the first time I loved.....
I think sometimes of the first time I realized His amazing love for me and how I first loved of Him. It was a time of great peace and joy and of unsurpassed certainty that He was in control… I had nothing and no one to fear. All things and anything were possible! I loved Him—and therefore, quite naturally, I was drawn to “copy” His love towards others. I saw by His actions of love what real love was as well as the cheap imitation or the lesser sentimental expressions of affection, fondness, preference or appreciation of others that I had mistaken for real love.
There were times associated with these deep revelations of His love that I told Him I would do anything for Him; truly I laid down my career and my hopes to earnestly and sincerely seek whatever it was for me that He wanted. And each time He gave me back what I already had with more than I had dreamed of —-those times were overflowing moments of His sublime love.
There have been more than a few times thatI have re-dedicated, afresh, my life to Him. We all tend to “drift”, and as things become for a while routine and we establish ourselves in society and life, living less “scary”; it’s easy to begin to think that perhaps I can do things “my way”, or that I need to be more like the people I come across that “appear” happy, successful and respected, but don’t seem so tightly tied to God and His expectations.
So why must I rededicate my life to Him routinely? Why do I personally, and we as a church or a nation have need of a “revival”? As I look through history, it’s surprising to note that it’s the times that God blessed a nation, or a people or an individual that nearly always also eventually brought spiritual demise and decay. But when a man, like Saint Francis, embraced poverty his entire life, or Paul was persecuted his entire ministry, or the early church in Rome hid in catacombs under constant danger or arrest, torture or death, that there they were each able to maintain an intimacy and primary love for Him that never seemed to fade or waver.
And although I really do not desire poverty or persecution or danger, a realization of how temporal, fragile and hostile life can be me reminds me that without His love I am nothing and with His love I am more than able to live, love and be at peace with myself and others. I am beloved—-therefore I am able to treat others as beloved.
To be a beggar, it appears, means that I am left with no one to trust but Him—-there’s no competition for my heart! (Also, there’s no overhead, payroll, maintenance, repairs, depreciation on the property, professionals to pay, etc)
To be persecuted, it could be argued, might mean that my Christian associates are reduced and our ranks may thin, but those that are left standing with me are the men and women that share my primary love of Jesus Christ!
And to be in danger, would result in the conclusion that ultimately He is the only assurance and insurance I have against life is this hostile world—-better to know that now than to be lulled into spiritual slumber by assuming “nothing can happen to me now”!
It is the manner in which I have both experienced His love and responded to His love that defines who I am in both my witness for Christ and how I see myself. Do I remind myself of this when I am pressed, squeezed and caught up in modern life? These “bad”things are really essential.
The closer I come to Him, the more I am “revitalized” in Him, the more I hope for a simpler life—-one with less, not more…….one with more fellowship with fellow “lovers”…..one with more who have experienced a reason for hopelessness and yet have never had a given up hope—-those are the real heroes.