Faith, Worship, Priorities

Lose The Less-Than Love

Gwen Smith Blog, Life Clutter, Priorities, Worship, Worship 33 Comments

WHAT WERE YOU DOING WHEN YOUR FAITH WAS MOST VIBRANT?

I watched a movie about the end times that left me longing for a few answers. So I grabbed my Bible and sat to read from the book of Revelation. In this apocalyptic, end-of-the-Bible book, John speaks of a vision from Christ that he received while on the island of Patmos. In this vision, Jesus unveils events yet to come – which, ultimately, echo His eternal love, power, and justice.

In chapter two, the words leapt from the page to my heart as Jesus spoke to the Church in Ephesus. His tone was heavy and serious, yet intimate, tender, and loving. Clearly this message was meant for Christians throughout history, not just the church of Ephesus. It was meant for me – and for you.

Jesus spoke to his church. “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.”(Revelation 2:2-3)

While reading this, I sensed the Lord speaking to me. Personally…

I know you work hard, Gwen. I know you spend countless, thankless hours doing mundane tasks like laundry, driving kids around, vacuuming floors, cleaning toilets, preparing meals, and managing relationships. I know you’re exhausted and wish you were more productive and organized. I know you serve at church. I know of your good intentions to spend quality time with me even though your often-inverted-priorities and distractions keep us from deeply connecting sometimes.”

His voice continued the heart-whispers as mine swelled…

“I know ______ … I know ______ … I know ______ … I know YOU.

And I see.  

I see what you are doing. I see the pressure you’re under. I’m fully aware of the pain you have endured and are enduring. I see your temptations and your struggles. I see all that you think is hidden.

I am El Roi.

I see you.

Now…

SEE ME.

More.

Much More.

Your glances toward me are fleeting. Flippant. Casual. Less-than. 

Your worship is often half-hearted… somewhat of an obligation. At times your service to Me is joyless and sterile – a going-through-the-motions of sorts. It should be a vibrant offering.

I am not an obligation.

I am GOD.

I am your Redeemer. I am your Savior. I am your Healer. I am your Strength. I am your Deliverer. I am your Comfort. I am your Portion. I am your Counselor. I am your Hope.

I AM.”

Overwhelmed and undone in His presence, I continued to read from the Word.

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken you first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”(Revelation 2:4-5a)

Repent.

Return to me… your first love.

Do the things you did at first.

I grasp for memories that will take me there. I think back to when I was more on fire… more driven by a white-hot, blazing love for Jesus.

When was I there – at the height of my love for God? What things was I doing?

I wrestle and think… and confess… and bow low in my heart.

When were YOU at the height of your love for God?

What things were you doing?

THE CHARGE for each of us: Do the things you did.

Return to your first love. Return to His perfect love. To pure love. To holy, powerful, sacred, compassionate, everlasting, merciful, grace-filled, trust-worthy, faithful love.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says…” (Revelation 2:7)

 

Dear Lord,
Who am I that you are mindful of me? That you know me? That you see me? That you love me? Please forgive this wandering worshiper. As I consider your mercy, I confess these things: _________________. Draw me close, once again, with your blood-stained grace and ignite an unquenchable fire of love deep within my heart, my soul, and my mind.
In Jesus’ name, Amen


FOR YOUR REFLECTION AND RESPONSE

What is one thing you did then that you can do today? Will you do it? If you accept this first-love charge, CLICK HERE to leave a comment on my blog telling me about “what you did then”, or simply say, “I will do the things I did!”

While you are in the comments section, take time to encourage and pray for one another.

Love and blessings to you!
GWEN


HEY! LET’S HANG OUT TOGETHER!

{Listen to the GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith Podcast during your commute to and from work… or while you run errands, cook dinner, fold laundry, eat chips and guacamole… all the things}

LISTEN NOW on iTunes

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AND don’t miss this candid episode with my daughter KENNEDY!

LISTEN NOW on iTunes

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And these other episodes…

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Comments 33

  1. I will be attending the ladies seminar on Knox pa on nov. I am looking forward to meeting & hearing you. I have been attending & helping with the seminar since it began. It has been such a blessing & help to many, many woman in the past 32 years! You have, & will continue to be, in my daily prayers. God bless you & your work

    Mary Jane Anderson

  2. This has lifted me UP When I definitely needed it. Thank you.🙏🏼✝️💜
    I had a bolderness AND I WANT THAT BACK!
    I was so in LOVE and couldn’t BELIEVE everyone didn’t KNOW THE TRUTH!✝️

  3. God has been speaking to me about being more aware of the opportunities around me each day to share His love as I go about my daily tasks. When I am walking closely with Him, I see people differently. His spirit seems to highlight those who need a word of encouragement from Him that day and He is giving me the opportunity to be His conduit. When I was first saved I was so aware of the possibility that someone around me might not know about Hus amazing love and I wanted to tell everyone to be sure that they had the opportunity to know Him like I did. There was no “political awareness”…just an overwhelming urge to share His love with everyone. He’s calling me back to that.

  4. He never came in second, when I felt that fire. He needs to be first place with me everyday!!! He has blessed me beyond measure!! I need to treat Him as special as He treats me!! My prayers go out to all ladies, may He fill your hearts with fire for Him!! Take delight in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart! (Psalm 37:4).

  5. I will lay before God and pour out praise as I wholeheartedly seek His Face, His Glory and the filling of His Holy Spirit.

  6. It breaks my heart but I try to think of a time when I was on fire for the Lord and I can’t really recall one. I want to feel that way. Right now I”m under an enormous amount of stress caring for my mother. Maybe I just don’t handle it well but it’s killing me watching her mind go and hearing some of the things she says or thinks she sees. I want to give it to the Lord and I’ve begged for help. I know He helps me but I’m struggling. Maybe it’s because I’ve never done anything different and I treat God like an obligation. I don’t want to be that way.

  7. I am going to stop being so busy ….when I was unemployed I got to spend a lot of time with the Lord….so I am only going to be working 2 days a week as of July 22, so I will be able to spend more time with the Lord…..I miss that time I had with Him

  8. I will take time to walk and talk with the Lord. Spending time to read his word and continue to heal from a volatile life…the first 26 years.

  9. I will do the things I did so I can find strength in God who strengthens me even in my weakness because his weakness is stronger in my strengthen. I will leaned not on my understanding and seek his guidance because his thoughts are higher than my own.

  10. I will immerse myself in a heartfelt, gut-wrenching prayer that draws tears, joy, and awe from my weary self.

    1. Gail that was so eloquently put and I think this is exactly how I feel. Praying for God to ignite that fire once again.

  11. I will do what I once did.
    Thank you for this post which spoke deep to my heart. The reminder “I am your healer. I am your strength” was exactly what the Lord knew I needed today, battling breast cancer and doubt, fear and anxiety. God always knows what we need.
    Heading back to my first love. 💖

    1. Lord I lift Judy up to you for your amazing healing. Please give her the desires of her heart to be cancer free, and serving you with gusto. In Jesus name, Amen.

    2. Judy thanks for sharing and allowing me to be reminded that He is everything to everyone whenever we need Him. I will lift you in prayer as I seek Him today.

  12. I will go back to going to Sunday School. I will give out tracks more. I will go to Sunday evening service at least once a month( schedule). I will cultivate a mindset of gratefulness instead of complaining. Thank you Gwen for this reminder that we are never standing still; but are either moving backward or moving forward in the will of God!

  13. I will open myself up to You more. I will listen for Your Voice and Instruction. I will follow through. I will remember Gratitude first and stop complaining. Help me to remember as I was first getting to know and before I put You in any kind of a box.

    1. Jana thank you for sharing gratitude for complaining. And yes I often forget there is no box to contain the great I AM.

    1. How about having a prayer partner? And also looking at some of the prayers in the Bible? Using God’s word as a tool helps pray His priority. Stay encouraged. I hope this helps. It helped me. Also I engage God in my everyday activities so He becomes my fiend who I talk to regularly.

    2. Yes there seems to be times like this but they service only to prompt us to bigger things, that yearning calls us. I so relate to this.

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