I often have people ask me, “What’s the one thing that brings success in this particular area of life?” They may be referring to family, career, physical health, finances, ministry, or another specific area. I usually respond that it isn’t only one thing that makes the difference, but a combination of several things done on a consistent basis. This is the case in most areas we deal with in life.
Yet in the scriptures, we do find God telling us about one thing that can sabotage our walk with Him. In Revelation chapter 2, Jesus honors the believers for the many strong attributes they’ve shown, including hard work, patience, and suffering endured as they served Him. Then He hits home in verse 4 with this statement: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Jesus shares with them the one thing they can work on if they want to fully enjoy their life in Him and be fully pleasing to Him. The way to make it right is found in verse 5: “Repent and do the first works.” In other words, go back to your first love.
It’s good for us to examine our life in God on a regular basis, to see if we’re still walking in the childlike faith and relationship that we started out with. Do you have a sincere love for God, or have you become a professional Christian? Do you go to church to grow in God, to gather with other believers, and to serve those around you, or do you go simply out of habit, in the same way that you brush your teeth or pay your bills? What choices are you making today that will cause an increase in the intimacy you experience with God?
I challenge you to take a serious look at why you do what you do. Go back to the basics – “do the first works” – of loving God with all your heart, being thankful for your relationship with Him, reading the Bible with expectancy for what God wants to say to you, and passionately caring about those that don’t yet know Him. If your relationship with your Father is starting to feel stale and lifeless, think about what you used to do when you first knew Him, and then begin doing those things again. As you do, I believe you’ll find a renewed excitement as you experience a fresh love for Him and a fresh love for the people around you!