I remember as a child we used to always sing in the car. One song that I remember the most is my mom or dad would sing, “oh Sandy, do you love Jesus?” I would reply, “Oh yes I love Jesus.” They’d sing, “Tell me why you love Jesus.” And I’d answer, “Because He first loved me.”
I grew up knowing that God loves me. I grew up knowing that He died on the cross for me and because of this I am to love Him, too. I am so thankful to have been taught the Bible at a young age. But sometimes, when you never know what it is like to not have something, you don’t realize what you do have. There are wonderful Bible verses like, “But commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 10:9) This verse is so powerful stating that God loved me when I was against Him! I was His enemy and yet He died for me! But I can’t tell you how many times I have just skimmed over this verse. I already have it memorized so I don’t need to pay attention to it when I read it. And because we skim over it we miss out on the truth of that verse- that God first loved me. He doesn’t demand a love in return. He did this for us before we loved Him.
When you come to the realization that you are doomed for hell because of your sin it should bring awful grief and heartbreak. I always teach my Sunday School class that as a sinner, I had a problem. I had sinned against God. My sin isn’t allowed in heaven. My sins would keep me from ever entering heaven. That’s the problem. But God, seeing my problem, offered a solution. He gave His Son to die and take on my sin. He would take away my sin! So, I have my sin as the problem and Christ as the solution. When I learn what God has done for me, that’s where that love begins. Then I need to make a decision: Take God’s free gift, believe in His Son and what He has done for me. Or continue on with my sin. When I accepted God’s gift of salvation- I remember that moment- I felt that deep, amazing love for God.
Now, 14 years later, why do I not feel that same amazing love for God that I felt that night at camp? Has God’s love changed? Of course not. Like the church of Ephesus, I have left my first love. I stopped dwelling on how amazing God is and on the love He showed for me when He gave me salvation. That’s my fault. I can’t say that it’s because I have a home now that I need to keep clean, or kids that take up so much of my attention. I can’t blame it on my being too busy in church ministries or facebook or anything else.
God’s command in Deuteronomy hasn’t changed: And thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5.
Consider now what you can do or change in your life in order to put God first again. How can you be dwelling on God and His love more? What will cause you to feel for God that love you felt when you accepted His great gift of salvation?