By Lou Coleman
In our relationship with one another we don’t have to tell someone that our love has grown cold towards them… they know it! They know it because of how we behave towards them. God wants you to know today that He is aware that your love has grown cold toward Him and that it breaks His heart that the thrill is gone.
You know the apostle Paul wrote [1Cor. 13:3 and John 4:24] a message to the church of their need to examine themselves and their love for Christ. He said, “Don’t try to worship God with lies. Don’t’ tell Him that you love Him if you really don’t love Him. Don’t’ try to convince Him that you love Him by telling Him all you do for Him. When two people really love each other, they aren’t mechanical in their relationship. Their love is spontaneous.” When you fall in love with someone, you don’t think its strange to tell them so over and over. And if you can’t see them that day, you’re sure to call or write just to remind them that you love them. You don’t neglect to let each other know you still have that same love. You don’t keep quiet just because you take it for granted that they still know it. When you stop telling your mate you love them, that’s an indication that perhaps you no longer do love them. You can’t keep love quiet. When you really love someone, you’re not ashamed to express that love. It doesn’t sound repetitious. No, its music to their ears. How much more should we tell the Lord we love Him, even though we know He is aware of it? Because apparently Him knowing is very important [John 21:15]. Listen, there’s nothing harder than a one-sided marriage, where one mate loves the other but receives no love in return. A love relationship needs to be mutual if it is to grow. Now, the Lord loves you, and He doesn’t want that love to be one sided. He gives you His love but also wants to receive your love and devotion. I tell you, some of us need to go back to that, “Old Time Religion, When It Was Good Enough for Me.” Some of us need to ask God to “Take Us Back to Where We First Received Him.” Think back to where the Lord found you and what He did for you when He saved you by Grace. Remember those days when just the mere mention of the name of Jesus was enough to bring tears to yours eyes. Remember those days when “Amazing Grace” made you nearly have a shouting spell. That is where the Lord wants to bring you back to!
Let me tell you a story of, “Undying Love.” …The story of Hosea and Gomer… I want you to know that Hosea is one of the most emotional books in the Bible, an outpouring of persistent love from God’s heart. Hosea begins with a love story – a painful, personal love story, the prophet’s very own. Hosea had married a woman who became unfaithful to him and brought great shame upon him. Yet though she cheated on him, Hosea still loved her. Though she humiliated him, he did not divorce her. Why not? Because God had told him that his painful love story would help him understand and feel with another more painful love story: the painful love of God for His people. Hosea’s feelings about Gomer give us a sense of how the Lord felt about Israel and how He feels about us today. God made Hosea live the tragedy of Israel’s unfaithfulness by marrying a harlot. And if Hosea scandalized the good people of Israel by doing this, that’s exactly the reaction God wanted… because Israel’s own idolatry and spiritual adultery was shocking and scandalous in God’s eyes! According to one theologian, “In God’s eyes, whoever forsakes the Lord is an adulteress, a harlot, and a whore. There are no religious “singles” in God’s eyes. Everyone is either faithfully married to God or is a prostitute to the idol they are serving” he said. God made you for himself. If you “get your kicks” from somewhere else, you are committing great harlotry against God. That was Israel’s condition.
And so God took Hosea and said, as it were, “Before I give you a word of judgment and grace for Israel, I am going to make you know what it’s like to be married to an unfaithful wife. Hosea, marry a harlot!” His marriage is an acted-out parable of God’s relations to Israel. Hosea would understand and feel the magnitude of God’s broken heart and deep sorrows. “If the prophet could be so wounded in his spirit by his wife’s adultery, then what must the Lord feel by centuries of such treatment by the very people He had formed for His own glory, as His personal possession?” Stop and think about what it would take for a loving father or mother to say to a child: “I disown you. I disinherit you. You are no longer my son or my daughter, I will not show you anymore love, mercy, or pity, no matter how much you cry out to me!” It would take decades of rebellion, hate, and evil atrocities on the part of an adult held to merit such a harsh judgment, right? So God wants us to feel His heart here, which has been broken and trampled on, for centuries, by the people He loved and rescued and cared for all these years! To know that you deserve to be broken, disowned, and shown no more love, how could God remain just and righteous in His judgment of us, and at the same time, show us such bountiful mercy? The only answer – God, in His immeasurable grace and mercy, will not give up on His people forever. This is a love that will not let us go! Does this grip your heart? Does this move you to respond to God’s mercy? It should! And if it doesn’t, then you better check to see if you have a spiritual pulse. Cry out to the Lord and ask Him to revive you.
Listen, the Christian life is about loving Christ. It is about loving Him singularly. It is about loving Him totally. It is about loving Him sacrificially. It is about loving Him obediently. It is about loving Him worshipfully. It is about loving Him in terms of service. It really is about loving Jesus Christ. That’s what it means to be a Christian. Now, if you understand the Old Testament, the great commandment was to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the sum of all that God requires, and your neighbor as yourself. But it starts with loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, which is just a way of saying loving God comprehensively, totally, completely. Now if that’s the sum of the law, then that has to be the sum of the relationship. That can’t be altered when it comes to being a Christian.
So I ask you as a believer today – “Have you left your first love? Have you become so busy and preoccupied with life, that Jesus is no longer that important to you? If you sense you have, you need to stop and remember what it was like when you really loved the Lord. You need to repent of the things that have come between you and Him. And you need to return to the basic things of a relationship with the Lord: joyful worship, glad serving, and thankful living. Remember your first love…Remember how much you loved Jesus at the beginning and go back to that. Love Him like you used to!