THE LOVE TEST
My father-in-law, Gerald Canon, was a Pastor in the greater Houston area for over 50 years. He was a wonderful man with a wealth of Bible knowledge. When I was just beginning to teach my first Sunday school class, I would call him to pick his brain.
I remember asking him about David being called "a man after God's own heart." I said, "Gerald, what do you think that means exactly, to be a man after God's own heart?" He answered, "David had a great passion and love for God and the things of God. The things that were important to God were important to David. That's at the core of what it means." Well put!
In Revelation 2:4, the Lord rebukes the church in Ephesus for leaving their first love. Remember, the greatest commandment of all is to love God with all you've got (Matt. 22:37-38). If you leave your first love, you miss the most important thing of all. If you leave you first love, your passion for Jesus starts to wane.
How is YOUR passion and love for the Lord Jesus these days? Are you "on fire." "lukewarm," or "getting cold"? Do you want to take the Love Test? (Let me warn you, it is convicting).
You know you have left your first love when:
- You delight more in someone else than in God.
- Your soul does not long for one-on-one time with God.
- Your thoughts during leisure moments are rarely on God.
- You view the commands of God as restrictions on your life.
- You inwardly strive for the approval of man rather than the approval of God.
- You refuse to give up questionable activities.
- You fail to make Christ known for fear of rejection.
- You are unwilling to forgive another.
- You become complacent of sin around you.
What do you do if you flunk the passion test? What do you do if you are guilty, as the church in Ephesus was, of leaving your first love? You heed the words of Jesus:
"Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place - unless you repent" (Rev. 2:5).
PRAYER OF REPENTANCE
Perhaps you need to pray this prayer of repentance. "Lord, when I honestly evaluate my heart for You, I see that I am guilty of leaving my first love. I don't want to be a lukewarm Christian who is half-heartedly in love with you. Change my heart, God. Set my soul on fire. Help me to be so passionate about You. Thank You for the cross, Lord Jesus. Let me never forget how much You love me and what You paid to save me. I surrender all over again to Your will and Your ways for me. Amen."
Remember, "We love, because He first loved us" (1 Jn. 4:19). Passion problems require a fresh look at the cross of Jesus Christ. Why not re-read the crucifixion accounts in the Gospels and watch THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST this weekend? You will be powerfully reminded of His unfathomable love for you, and your heart will start beating passionately once again for Him.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.