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Have We Forgotten Our First Love?

I hear a lot of arguments about the Bible: its validity, interpretation, what's the best translation, and its relevance for our time. Most Christian blogs and websites focus on culture or moral issues including those of political nature. Several tackle controversial topics that often lead to harsh opinions and arguments in the comment boxes. Controversy really does cause attention, and it sells. Sometimes I feel like there's a whole lot of talking going on and not enough living out what we proclaim. We're just a cacophony of noise, with a facade of empty pockets. Each of us eager to express our opinion of what we feel knowledgeable about, which can come across as arrogant, and gives fodder to a world that doesn't know Christ.
But in this tangled web of dogma. Have we forgotten our first love?
"I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent." Revelation 2:2-6 ESV
The first few verses in the above Scripture the Church has down-pat. It's that last part we have not adhered to. We're so busy focusing on and shouting Bible verses at what other's are doing that they shouldn't be doing or what we think they should do, and we're not loving them. 
I'm aware that some people are easier to love than others. Jesus didn't give us a but or if choice. We are commanded to love others.
If our attitudes and actions are the same as the world, then there is no outward difference between us. If we state we are a Christian, yet do not adhere to its teachings, that makes us a hypocrite, and we'll be held accountable.
Luke chapter 6 Jesus exclaimed,
"If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." verses 32-36. ESV.
I don't have all the answers. I am a work in progress. The work being God's, I'm just His tool and His servant.
What I do know is we as the Church have a task, a responsibility, a mission. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus gave us His command.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
In the above verse we are to do three things.
  1. Tell others about the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. 
  2. We are to do this work in His name. 
  3. We are to do this in His power. 
This all requires love. Love that is in and by and through His name, and it is done by His Spirit that lives in us. 


Becky said…
Loved your post, Annette. It reminds me of a Tozer quote I found recently, "The greatest encouragement throughout the Bible is God's love for His lost race and the willingness of Christ, the eternal Son, to show forth that love in God's plan of redemption. The love of Jesus is so inclusive that it knows no boundaries. At the point where we stop caring and loving, Jesus is still there loving and caring."
Vicki Moss said…
So true Annette. Sometimes we're so busy looking at the plank in the eye of others, we fail to see the plank in our own. Thanks for this post. We especially need it during the Christmas season, as well as the rest of the year. Keep reminding us!