In Matthew 22:36-38 says, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV)
I grew up with a FORM of religion and never understood what it meant to truly “Love the Lord your God will all your heart.” My name is Sunday, I attended church, sang in the choir and everyone around me considered me a Christian!!! But my first year at Bible college my roommate asked me how long I had known JESUS. I said I had gone to church all my life. She explained to me that there was a difference in knowing about Him and KNOWING HIM! I watched her for three days and she looked like she was in LOVE all the time. I wanted what she had!!!! My freshman year in college I asked JESUS to be LORD of my life and from that point on my “love relationship” with Him has grown. (That was 48 years ago!!!)
When I graduated from College and took a job in Kansas with a church teaching young people to LOVE JESUS FIRST and sing second……I saw the power of 350 young people singing and LOVING JESUS affecting lives!!! I have NOT quit singing “I love you Lord and I lift my voice to worship you, Oh my soul rejoice. Take JOY my KING in what you hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear!”
I was 30 and single and like most girls longing for a Godly husband. I began to memorize, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26 (NKJV) This is when my love for JESUS truly became first and I was honestly able to say… “If I never marry, you are enough!!” When you are “in love”, you want to talk to that person, spend time with that person, tell everyone else about how wonderful that person is!!!! I couldn’t be quiet about JESUS, my FIRST LOVE!!!
Two weeks later I met Bud……he was a Godly man that truly had made JESUS his FIRST LOVE. We were married 7 months later and that was 35 years ago. I wanted to spend time with him, I wanted to talk to him, and I wanted everyone to know him. I couldn’t keep quiet about him!
My FIRST LOVE was tested, for I was so in love with my husband and being married that my “first love” began to be “second love.” Then I realized that again the GREATEST commandment was true and when I quickly put JESUS back into His rightful place of being FIRST, my love blossomed and grew. When you are filled up with HIS love, your love for others is stronger! In the book “Falling In Love with Jesus” the author says, “If women would yearn for closeness with Jesus the way they yearn for closeness with an earthly mate, their lives would be absolutely transformed.” That’s why I love traveling around doing womens’ retreats to challenge women to get back to their “first love!”
Again my FIRST LOVE was tested when I had my first baby! Ohhhhh, I love babies and I loved the two little ones that God gave me. I thought I would BURST with love when they entered this world. I loved them SO MUCH and again, I was seeing that my love for my children was almost more that I loved Jesus. So I quickly confessed and asked JESUS to once again be my FIRST LOVE and He gave even greater love for my children. (This is an ongoing process. ) Deut. 13:3-4, “The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.” Deuteronomy 13:3-4 (NIV)
All through life you will be tested in your love for JESUS. There are so many distractions to take the place of your FIRST LOVE. Jesus tells the church to “return to your First Love” in Revelation. They were a lukewarm church and were not keeping Him as their “first love”. What distracts you and keeps JESUS FROM BEING YOUR FIRST LOVE? What ever it is, confess it and put HIM back into that position of BEING FIRST in your life!
As I write this I would love to sit with each one of you reading this and tell you that a life of LOVING JESUS is not always easy, but it is worth it!! At every turn in my life my love for HIM has carried me through every hard thing. Your LOVE for HIM will affect every relationship you have. You will begin to view things as HE VIEWS them, grieve at things that grieve HIS heart, love the things that HE LOVES!
Others will say, “She is in LOVE…….JESUS is HER FIRST LOVE!” (And remember to pray for that future mate of yours to “love JESUS with all His heart, soul and mind!”)