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Rekindling Our First Love (Part 3)

By bro Joel Lee

Lastly, if we have indeed lost our first love, how can we rekindle it?

Jesus tells us the answer in v5 and it can be summarized by 3Rs— Remember, repent and return.

1. Remember

Remember therefore from whence ye have fallen The first step in rekindling our first love is remembering, remembering how things used to be. More importantly, however, not only do we need to remember our behavior and deeds from the past, it is arguably more critical to remember the motivations behind those past actions. Why did we lose our former passion and zeal for the Lord? What was our driving force? And the simple yet beautiful answer to that is simply that He loved us first (1 John 4:19)

19 We love Him because He first loved us.

God’s love for us is so immense that He was willing to give up his only Son to die for our sins, knowing that there was no other way to bridge the gap between the perfect and sinful. (Romans 5:8)

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Indeed, God’s love for us is immeasurable and undeniable. And I believe it was this enormity of God’s love and sacrifice that compelled us to become Christians, that inspired us to reciprocate, to attempt to love God with as much passion and fervour as He did with us. Reminding ourselves of this and remembering God’s incredible love and sacrifice gives us the motivation to rekindle and rediscover how we once were and is the key first step to rekindling our first love.

2. Repent

The next step in rekindling our first love is to repent. What does repent mean? Repent comes from the Greek word metataneo which means a change of heart, a change of mind. Perhaps the best biblical example to illustrate repentance is that of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11–32. This is a fairly lengthy passage, but let us focus on v17-20.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” 20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

These 3 verses can be divided into 3 different segments which encapsulate what it means to repent, to change one’s mind.

Acknowledgment - that the current situation is unacceptable. The prodigal son came to his senses and realized that it was foolish to languish in his current state due to his pride.

Admission - admission of one’s sins and wrongdoing. The prodigal son had behaved in an entitled and foolish manner, demanding his inheritance way in advance and then proceeding to waste all of it by living recklessly and carelessly. Now he realized the errors of his ways and was willing to admit them to himself and his father.

Action (commitment to action) - Resolving a course of action that seeks to remedy the situation. The prodigal son said he would arise and go to his father and indeed he did so. He did so knowing the consequences, understanding it was an admission of his failure and the poor choices he had made. He did so also not knowing if his father would forgive him and was remorseful enough that he was willing to take on the duties of his father’s servants.

3. Return

Having remembered God’s love and sacrifice, which motivates us towards change and having a change of heart as a result in the manner of acknowledgment of the dire situation, an admission of one’s trespasses, and a resolution towards change, we now come to the final R—Return. To return to one’s first works.

What are the first works? To answer the question, turn with me to Acts 19:18-19 as well as Acts 2:42

18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.

Acts 2:42

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ [a]doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

These 2 verses illustrate the first works many 1st century Christians partook of, first in the literal temporal sense, i.e. the actions one did soon after becoming a Christian. Acts 19:18-19 showed how new Christians renounced their past and confessed their wrongdoing. Acts 2:42 showed how new Christians are immersed in the gospel and fellowship on top of being active in prayers. What about us? What were our first works? The first works of the first century Christians were countless, ranging from prayer, confession, fellowship, etc but essentially, they were works showcasing a life centered around God. We need to follow in their footsteps and return to these works we once did with passion and fervour.

Maintaining love and affection in any relationship and keeping the spark alive is not easy, let alone the one we have with God. If we have indeed lost our first love, let us recognize the need to rekindle our love for God and remember our first works, repent and return to it.

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