"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent." Revelation 2:4,5
I remember thirty years ago giving my life to Jesus in the midst of planning a drug deal in my living room. My life was changed in an instant and I remember the joy of my salvation and the incredible peace of God that flooded my life. The very next day after being gloriously saved I begin to witness to one of my friends telling him what I experienced the night before.
For the first four years of my Christian life I absorbed the word of God and told everyone I knew about Jesus and how He set me free from drugs and changed my life. Shortly after receiving Jesus I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and my whole life changed again, it was like unplugging from 110 volt and plugging into a 440 volt power source. I began to lay hands on everything that moved and prayed for countless people to be saved, healed and delivered.
This life of power and grace lasted 23 years until God told me to sell everything I owned and come away with Him to a lonely place for a while. For the past seven years God has filled me with revelation as He pruned me down to ground zero. When He got through with me there was nothing left of me but an empty shell. I was home-less, job-less and car-less and wasn't really sure of where I was or where I was going.
While I was in the wilderness with not much to do I discovered the Internet and began to go to various sites and visited many Christian ministries and begin to pick up on what the church in general was involved in. It seemed that the church and Christianity had lost its way and wandered away from their first love, being involved in a perpetual rock throwing contest.
When I was in ministry all of those years we were involved in residential care centers dealing with drug addicts, prostitutes and every sort of fallen individual that you could imagine. We didn't go to church, we were the church, 24/7. We had always just lived in community not really being involved with the local church and all of their politics and doctrines, we just loved Jesus and each other.
It seems to me that in the midst of all the emerging, purpose driven, apostolic reformation and organic church that we have forgotten the author of our faith. We have become more concerned with the structure rather than the Creator and have drifted away from the joy of our salvation. When was the last time you saw someone gloriously saved and delivered from the powers of darkness?
Where has the spirit of evangelism gone and why does the church today ignore the lost and go after the seeker but never tell him how to be saved. You never hear the message of the cross any more because it might upset the poor seeker and run off a perspective tither. We don't talk about the blood of Jesus, the suffering He experienced on the cross nor do we speak of how one repents and becomes a new creation in Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Head, the central figure and Creator of what we call church and yet His name is rarely mentioned in our services and even more rare is His appearance among His people and their relationship with Him. We have managed to create a Christ less church that has lost its first and only love, the Lord Jesus Christ!
RESTORING THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
King David knew what it was like to lose the joy of his salvation when he sinned with Bathsheba. After Nathan the prophet had confronted him the Holy Spirit convicted him and he repented and cried out for mercy.
Falling into sin can definitely steal your joy and flood you with doubt and fear and David knew that he had sinned against a holy God but instead of running away, he ran toward God asking to be cleansed and forgiven. By acknowledging his sin and asking to be cleansed and restored he once again could experience the presence of God.
Many things can steal your passion for Jesus and allow you to drift away from your first love. The world has many enticements and there is always something to tempt you to spend time with it rather than Him. If this is the case with you then come away by yourself to a lonely place and cry out for mercy, ask the Holy Spirit to convict you and receive the blood of Jesus to cleanse you and restore your once white hot passion and love for Him!
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You. Psalm 51:12,13