Monday, March 05, 2012
“Do not be overly concerned about your defects. Instead concentrate on having an unceasing love for Jesus, and you shall be much forgiven, because you have loved much. (Luke 7:47). However, we need to be aware of the tendency to seek the good of feelings and selfish thrills of love (which are the by-products of love) instead of love itself. We can so easily deceive ourselves on this matter. We can concentrate so much on love that we miss the point entirely…But when we are concerned with the constant assurance of His love, we are still in a measure busy with self.” – Fenelon, Let Go, Letter 13, pg. 25
Over the last several months I’ve been trying to draw near to God. I’ve awakened early in the morning, spent time alone in the dark on my knees trying to hear His voice, or sitting in silence, or crying out to Him, but none of that seemed to matter. I heard nothing. I felt nothing. God, it seemed, was not interested.
Eventually, I stopped getting up early. I rolled over in my bed and whispered a sentence of prayer softly into my pillow before drifting back into sleep. It seemed to make no difference if I spent 30 minutes on my knees or two minutes curled under the covers.
What I missed was something so obvious, so simple, and yet blindness does that to you, doesn’t it? It prevents you from seeing what’s right in front of you.
I was coming to God for a feeling or a blessing. God wanted me to come to Him because of my love for Him.
There’s a big difference between loving someone for what they can do for you and loving them “just because”. True love is its own reward. True love does not need to be fed with anything more than love itself. True love is satisfied with itself, and nothing more.
I had forgotten my first love.
In Revelations, Jesus speaks to the church in Ephesus and says,
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” (ch 2:2-3)
As wonderful as all of that sounds, what Jesus says next is heart-breaking:
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” (v.4)
Somehow, as they were working hard and persevering, as they were exercising discernment and rooting out false apostles, as they were enduring hardships for the sake of Christ, they had forgotten to love Jesus with all their heart.
I find myself sitting in the church of Ephesus. Those words of Jesus echo in my ears as well. “You have forsaken your first love, Keith.”
So, now when I draw to my knees it’s not to receive a blessing. It’s not to hear some pearl of wisdom. It’s not to feel the tingle of the Spirit’s presence. It’s simply to sit at the feet of my precious Jesus. To sit in silence if that’s what He wants. To pour out my heart to Him if that’s what He wants. To experience His touch, if that’s what He wants. But above all, to come to Jesus because He is Jesus.
Because that is enough.
He is more than enough.