I remember that first love for my husband. I also remember that first love when I grasped Jesus’ love for me. Time has softened the ridges and washouts of both loves, but often my love becomes downright dull.
I pull clothes off hangers and sort laundry, spray stains and search pockets. I fold and hang, pair socks, stack piles and put away shirts, shorts, and underwear in respective drawers.
I plop on the loveseat, rustle through the Bible to my current text and read. I ease onto my knees and talk to God about my day and the people appearing in my mind’s eye. I write lists of to-dos, then get up and move into the day.
These acts I do in love or they can lose that aspect. Washing clothes becomes a chore, and I skim verses unconsciously thinking, “This isn’t new.” Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross becomes the train whistling, I don’t hear it anymore. My heart has gone to lunch and left my mind and body doing the work with efficiency and emptiness. I don’t mean to lose the soul in my actions; the pieces slowly crack and chip off, until suddenly I wake and wonder, “What am I doing? What happened to my first love?”
“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and … have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Revelation 2:2-4
This time of year, I use a tool to revive that love. I use Lent to rewake to the significance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. During Lent I give up or take up something which taps me with constant reminders of his love for me and the cost that love required. Day by day the fractures and bare areas in my love fill in again.
This is the week to consider how to approach Lent, because it begins next Wednesday, March 6. I’m pondering what I will give up or take up, that action that will prod me throughout the day. It is the long-term, repetitious nature of the keeping of an intention that hammers home God’s love, which bolsters and grows my love for him.
I encourage Christians to prepare for Easter, to do what may seem an unpleasant journey, but transforms into a joyful and triumphant march back to first love. Here are two promises if you choose to dive into Lent this year.
He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that he rewards those who diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
If you need direction in participating in Lent, there are online helps and print guides or I wrote a devotional and a Bible Study as guides through Lent. You may see the Bible Study Answer Guide for free under the Publications tab or use the links below.
Running to the Empty Tomb: Finding the Joy in Easter. (Also available through BookBaby.)