Falling In and Out of Love
Paul TautgesPaul Tautges serves as senior pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, having previously pastored for 22 years in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Paul has authored eight books including Counseling One Another, Brass Heavens, and Comfort the Grieving, and contributed chapters to two volumes produced by the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He is also the consulting editor of the LifeLine Mini-Book series from Shepherd Press. Paul is a Fellow with ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). He and his wife, Karen, are the parents of ten children (three married), and have two grandchildren. Paul enjoys writing as a means of cultivating discipleship among believers and, therefore, blogs regularly at Counseling One Another.
- 2015 Feb 09
I’m thinking about love for Christ, tonight. How easy it is for us as believers to fall out of love with Jesus in the same sense as the Ephesian believers did. “You have left your first love,” Jesus said to them (Revelation 2:4). Their deeds and toil and perseverance for Jesus and the gospel were noteworthy, commendable. But Jesus had one thing against them. Their primary passion had shifted from Jesus---alone---to all the things they were doing for Him and, no doubt, also things from Him. I got to thinking about this while reading One Cry by Byron Paulus and Bill Elliff. Here are the words that challenged me:
Imagine a Christian, saved by God’s grace, saying to the Groom, Jesus Christ, “I want You to know that I’ll come to church most Sundays. I’ll occasionally read my Bible because I know I should. I’ll give a little bit, support missions, and maybe even teach children in Bible study. I’m committed to doing most of the Christian stuff. But, I just want You to know---I don’t really love You anymore.”
Our Groom’s greatest desire is not His bride’s activity, but her undivided attention. Christ doesn’t want mere form, but passion. He longs for YOU. He wants an intimate relationship. In fact, He died for that intimacy to occur. He knows that all the right works flow from a passionate heart. But without love, a marriage---earthly or heavenly---is doomed. Love provides things that are found nowhere else.
Love for Christ is empowering. You can operate only so long out of duty, and not very well. Love fuels you with the passion for sustaining relationship.
And love is intriguing. When you love someone, you want to know more about them, and you discover that a lifetime cannot reveal all the inner reaches of their heart. When we are in love with Jesus we are drawn in, captured by the height and depth and breadth of His love. Our great desire is to know Him and experience Him in ever-increasing intimacy.
True love is more fulfilling than anything else as Christ becomes our greatest longing and greatest satisfaction. When we are experiencing the love of Christ, there is no need to look for joy anywhere else.
And love for Christ is contagious. Mere religious duty is not only insanely boring to us, but incredibly unappetizing to all who observe our dutiful rituals.
This evening, as prepare for Lord's Day with God’s people, let us remember our first love, repent of our false loves, and return to the one supreme love.