by Kathy Lay
This Week's Verse
Revelation 2:4—Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. (NIV)
Have you ever been caught up in such a spiritual experience that you knew you were touched by the very hand of God? Maybe it was at church—a moment of reverence and awe as you saw his glory streaming through a stained-glass window. Or maybe it was a moment of conviction that left no doubt that the day’s sermon was crafted by the Spirit just for you. Or maybe while singing praise, you were so overcome with his presence that you fell to your knees and just wept, grateful to revel in his company.
God is so good to bless us with these other-worldly glimpses of his majesty! In his continual pursuit of us, however, he isn’t satisfied with a weekly meeting. He woos us, seeks us out to be with him all the time, every minute of every day. And while it’s not difficult to respond and surrender during those supernaturally divine instances, it becomes more of a challenge to do it in the midst of real life, with a deadline looming, laundry piling up, illness setting in, overnight guests due the next day, and relationships in need of nurturing. It’s tough to hear that gentle whisper amidst the clanging, Amen?
But if we’re to be in a true love relationship with the Lord, which is the very reason we were created, we have to look for him even in the craziness. He wants to share everything from triumphant victories to cleaning the toilet (and if you think that’s beneath the Lord of the universe, remember that he happily removed toe-jam from his friends’ filthy feet). He wants your whole life—the gleaming and the gritty, the joyful and the anxious, the snail's pace or the break-neck speed—all of it.
Right now as I type this, millions of Americans are fully engaged in the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. You might be one of those who love the excitement and thrill of the bargain hunt, and I give anyone kudos who attempts to be Jesus in the midst of the mad rush.
I'm not one of those.
Instead of affecting the masses, I tend to let the masses affect me, resulting in a not-so-holy attitude during this, an especially holy season. It's hard for me to abide in the Lord when other shoppers (who he loves just as much as he loves me) are rude, greedy, or even simply in my way. Since that's a weakness of mine and I know that Satan could have a field day with my vulnerability, I stay away from it (James 4:5).
But in the days ahead when I do venture out to make a dent in my shopping list, the Christmas rush will still be in full swing. I better bring my true love, my first love, along with me to ensure that this task—all in celebration of his birth, after all—remains a faithful act of worship.
So go ahead and be awestruck and humbled in church. Your Lord wouldn’t have it any other way. But don’t reserve it for only then. Look for him on the “off” days, too. In the hustle and bustle, can you hear him? When the aisle's blocked with shopping carts and three people are standing in front of the one product you need, can you hear him chuckle affirmatively as he watches you choose to wait patiently? He's there with you, Sister. He’s calling you every day, wooing you, his true love…Can you hear him?
God, we praise you for counting us worth to pursue! Thank you for your unending love and steadfast faithfulness. We invite you to be our “every day” God, wholly involved in every aspect of our lives, even crazy holiday preparations. In fact, as we submit those to you, please accept them as a pleasing sacrifice and be honored as you help us keep our attitudes and actions Christ-centered. In the Name of your beloved son whose birth we celebrate and honor, our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
On your things-to-do list or your shopping list, alternate items with scripture, prayer, or even love quips to Jesus. That way, as we remember what to do or what to buy, we also remember to invite our first love into the situation too. Here's an example of what a shopping list might look like:
Thanks for the crowd, Father.
Help me be a light and a tool.
Forsake me not, Lord, especially as I walk through the valley of the electronics counter.
Dance with me, oh Lover of my soul...
1 John 4:19(NIV)--We love because he first loved us.
I Peter 1:19-20 (NLT)--He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, he was sent to the earth for all to see. And he did this for you. (Emphasis mine)
Philippians 1:9(MSG)...Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.
John 15:9(NLT)--I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.