“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of Him Who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, 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. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” (Rev. 2:1-4)
Are you losing your first love? Do you need a fresh touch, a fresh encounter with God?
In Genesis 28, Jacob had an unbelievable, supernatural encounter with God. He dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven. It was a revelation of God and a prophetic promise. He left the encounter full of awe with a personal commitment to God. But time passed, and life happened. The fire of that experience dwindled. In Genesis 35, Jacob was commanded to return to his place of encounter and build an altar to God. He commanded his family to get rid of their foreign gods and purify themselves. They prepared to revisit the place of encounter. They prepared for a fresh touch.
Like Jacob, God met me when I wasn’t looking for Him. I attended the University of South Carolina because of its reputation as the biggest party school. While home for the weekend, I wanted to date a friend who agreed, so long as we went to church. I agreed. I knew how to do church. I had learned how to grip the back of a pew and fight off conviction. Little did I know I would find myself on my face in that little church crying out to God saying, “Lord, forgive me of all of my sins.” At that moment, my life changed.
I had an encounter with God. I love what God did in that little church in McCormick, SC. But I’m glad it’s not the only time God touched my life. Time passed; life happened. I had to revisit that place of encounter. God has continued to direct me back to those places where I would again encounter Him.
Why do we continue to need a fresh touch from God? I love what God is doing in the midst of ministry. But I don’t want to do what I do if I lose the edge of passion and fire for the presence and Spirit of God. Let’s not lose the edge.
I would rather worship in a brush arbor with the presence of God, like my grandfather, than worship in a multi-million dollar stained-glass building without God’s presence.
God loves us so much that He never leaves us the way He finds us. In Him, there is always more. In fact, we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). That’s the only way we can do what scripture says in Mark 12:30-31 and love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength as well as love our neighbor as ourselves.
God is looking to affect our hearts not only our minds. He wants His love to go from our heads to our hearts. He wants to change the way our hearts feel about things; to change the way we respond to situations that exist in a broken world.
All of us, in our entirety, must be wholly given over to God. He wants us to be fully yielded and devoted to Him with abandon. We are called to love God with every fiber of our being. This is what passion for our First Love looks like.
Here are a few reasons we need a fresh touch from God to rekindle our passion:
- We are forgetful. Throughout Israel’s history they forgot the experiences and promises of God. The history of the church shows they forget the history and promises of God. If you study my life you will see I tend to forget the encounters and the promises of God. And if you study your life, you may see you tend to forget as well. It’s difficult to live in the emotion of past encounters. That’s what walking in faith is all about. A fresh touch helps us remember and renews our original passion.
- We are fickle. Just as Jacob’s household needed to get rid of their foreign gods before his second encounter, we too can let our guards down and allow other things to take God’s place in our life. When we do, we need to say, “Lord, bring me back to that place of encounter, to that fresh touch.”
- Life is difficult. Jacob started with youthful energy and optimism. He didn’t have any responsibility. He had an encounter with just him and God. Years later we see him with the maturity and complexity of age. We see him with responsibility and family, and the burden that goes along with those responsibilities. When I started my journey of faith, it was just me and God. I wasn’t worried about anything; it was all so simple. Somewhere along the line things get complicated. Life is hard. Because of the difficulties of life, there may be a point when you may need a fresh encounter.
- We are engaged in warfare. We are in a battle. The scripture teaches it. Life teaches it. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12). We are engaged in a battle. The weapons of our warfare are not of this world. We need a fresh touch because we are engaged in warfare, and warfare brings about weariness. Warfare brings about woundedness.
We need times of refreshing. We need fuel on the fire that is already burning in our hearts. If all you have are a few coals, may the Holy Spirit come and breathe on the coals so they are fanned into a bright burning flame again. We may need to return to an environment where the wind of the Spirit is blowing. I have found the primary ingredient in a fresh touch is a hunger for Him. He will always satisfy hungry and thirsty hearts.
Don’t let the pain of forsaking your First Love have the last word. Let’s determine to live a life made up of passion, abandoned to His love. Paul wrote that “…whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Phillippians 3:7). In surrender to Christ, we also surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit and we gain a life lived in His love.
Before anything else, you are His; hidden in Him—pursuing God with passion and allowing yourself to become aware again of His nearness to you, His love for you, and His power in you, raising you up into a vibrant life. Today, let go of anything you’re holding onto that may be preventing you from pursuing God with passion.
— Tom Jones