First Love for Jesus and Praying Christians
I was reading Revelation 2:1-4 the other day and when I got to verse 4, I started thinking about first love. How did I feel when I first fell in love with Jesus Christ? Have you also thought about that lately?
The disciples of Jesus Christ in Ephesus were busy working for God, and labouring hard to preach the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. They endured hardship, trials, jesting from non-believers, abuse, and whatever else was thrown at them. They lived a righteous life and holy life. They rejected evil and false preachers. Anyone who saw the disciples in those days would conclude that they loved the Lord Jesus Christ very much.
Jesus had only one criticism. They left their first love. What went wrong? They were occupied with Christian activities. They attended Church services and strengthen each other through trials. They worked for God. They laboured for the gospel of Jesus Christ. They lived the Christian life. The question was `how was their personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ?’
Jesus said “if you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15. What are the commandments?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
Visible part of our Christian life
Let us look at these commandments closely. There are things we do as Christians that people see us do them and praise us for doing them. They commend our love for God.
To fulfill the second commandment, we are part of a group showing love to our communities, participating in Christian activities to help people who live around us. We share God's love with them.
To partly fulfill the first commandment, we preach the gospel to non-Christians. We participate in all the ministries our Churches can set up. We are Church workers. We love the Lord with all our strength and energy.
Invisible part of our Christian life
Let us look at the other part of the first commandment that no one sees except God.
Love the Lord with all our heart
Only you and God know where your heart is. Some people turn to Jesus Christ and follow him for what they can receive from him. "However boats from Tiberias came near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus wasn’t there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus." John 6: 23-24.
Many people went looking for Jesus. They left their homes, got into boats and went to Capernaum to seek Jesus. They sought for him and found him. "When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.” John 6:25-26.
You can love someone because of what you get from them. You can work in God’s vineyard because you seek the rewards you will receive in heaven. You are already saved, so you are not working for that but you are seeking the blessings that come with it.
Are you after the gift or the giver? Do you love Jesus with all your heart or with what he can give? What happens when the blessings are no longer there? Will you still hold on to him or backslide?
Only you can answer the above questions. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew 6:21.
Love the Lord with all your mind
“You (God) will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3” It is very simple. If your mind is not at peace it is not on God. If you love God with all your mind, you will find that all your thoughts drift to him several times a day. You are always thinking of him and talking to him while going about your daily activities.
“Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report: if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think about these things” Philippians 4:8.
Love the Lord with all your soul
In this article, I am taking the view that your soul is same as your spirit. I know that many schools of thoughts will disagree. Your spirit is the living being alive to God. With your spirit you worship God “for God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24.
If you love God with all your soul/spirit you will know:
· Enjoy spending time with God in prayers.
If you do not look forward to any opportunity to pray, then how much do you love spending time with God?
· You cannot wait to talk about God. You love talking about him at every opportunity with someone who mentions him. If you do not like talking about Jesus very much, how much love do you have for him?
· You love hearing the word of God because you learn more about Jesus Christ. If you are not hungry for the word of God or thirsty for the Spirit of God in your life, how much do you desire him and love him?
· You long for God to manifest in everything you do and in everyone you see. You desire to see his glory everywhere you go. You aim to do everything to glorify him. You must be proud to be a child of God and associated with him. If not, what is the problem?
People can see you pray. They can praise you for working very hard in the Church. You are commended for your charity work and generous giving. God will reward you for your labour of love. Would God commend you for what people do not see?
“Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.” Romans 12:1
Jesus said “if you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15.