"All I want is to sit in his shade, to taste and savor his delicious
love. He took me home with him for a festive meal, but his eyes feasted
on me!" (Song 2:3-4 The Message)
I recently had the opportunity to read through a personal testimony that I wrote about 8 years ago. As I read it, I was struck broadsided by how much in love with Jesus I had been back in those days.
But wait a minute. I'm still in love with Jesus! What's all the fuss about?
But I couldn't shake the feeling. It's true that I have not strayed from my Lord and Savior, but somehow, as I read that personal testimony, I could feel God calling me back to a former state of the love-relationship we once shared.
"Lord," I cried, "Where have I gone wrong? I still love You! You're my best friend, my confident, my support, my source of comfort, my high tower in times of trouble. I'm still involved in church and ministry, I still have my regular personal devotions. I still go to church. I still have worship with my children. So how come I don't feel as 'in love' as I did back then?"
The words of Revelation 3:16 suddenly flashed across my mind: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." (Rev 3:15-17 NIV)
I fell down on my knees, and as bitter tears of repentance ran down my cheeks, God unfolded it all in my mind. You see, in the past, God had been my focus. Studying my Bible and being in ministry had been a RESULT of my love for Him, an EXTENSION of our relationship! But somewhere along the line, things became reversed. These things BECAME my focus!
You see friends, when I go to church to find God, I am just "playing church". When I participate in ministry, even when I have my personal devotionals and worship with the family as a routine thing, as the "way" to please God, I am just "playing Christian"! These things are not bad things, and I continue to be very blessed by them. But they have to stop being my focus! My focus needs to return to the Lover of my Soul, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Only when I do all those "things" as a RESULT of my love for Jesus, will they truly become a blessing, both to me, and to God! Only then can I return to being "on fire" for God!
As I knelt there, repenting, a beautiful thing happened. God's voice called out to me: "I am still deeply in love with you, My child! I love you more and more every passing day!"
The tears flowed even more freely then. I might have switched my focus away from God, but He hadn't switched His focus away from me! He is still as "in-love" with me as ever, and His love for me grows deeper every day!
Oh, what a wonderful Savior!
Friends, have you, too, become lukewarm? Have you, too, been "playing church" or "playing Christian"? Please take this message seriously. Examine your hearts. Think back to how you were when you first accepted Jesus as your Savior, when you first received the gift of His precious Spirit. More than likely, like me, you will honestly be able to answer that you still love God and that you haven't slipped from His presence. But are you still on fire for Him? Or have you, in some aspect of your life, become lukewarm?
If the answer to this second all-important question is "yes", then you, like me, must shift your primary focus back to Jesus. You need to once again desire to bask in His presence, to surrounding yourself with His love. Only when a personal relationship with God becomes the central focus of your lives will the fire come back into your church attendance, will the power come back into your ministry, will the spark come back into your personal worship time!
"All I want is to sit in his shade, to taste and savor his delicious love." (Song 2:3b The Message)
And remember, whether you have grown lukewarm or not, God loves you unconditionally! His greatest desire is to be your primary focus: "He took me home with him for a festive meal, but his eyes feasted on me!" (Song 2:4 The Message)
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.