By: Sam Garvin
How many times have we used Sunday morning teachings, biblical podcasts, or small group meetings with the latest bible study book to replace our time with reading the Bible? (Here’s my heart, I am not against these things above and I believe they are great tools for building the Kingdom.)
How about the many times we have replaced spending time in the word for worldly comfort? Time to binge watch your favorite show on Netflix, lose hours scrolling through social media, and/or looking inward (loving yourself) instead of outwards (loving others).
I know what it is like to become religious, doing works without faith. Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? – James 2:20. Going to church on Sunday mornings, serving in the church building for the Body of Christ, attending the musical chairs of small groups, and able to check every check mark that says you are a Christian. But slowly that flame in my lamp that I once had went out. I don’t blame any person or the community I was apart of for my burn out. I am the one that forgot my “first love”; Jesus.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. -Revelation 2:4.
Do you remember the moment you saw Jesus for who he says he is in comparison of your sin? That your sin creates this heaviness in your heart that causes you to cry out for relief. As if you are standing below the feet of the Savior hanging on the cross witnessing Him in agonizing pain for you, for that very thing that you are doing. In that moment of asking for forgiveness with a pure heart, you feel the presence of God. That presence brings you to your knees and peace becomes tangible again. But this peace is not like the world says peace to be. The peace of Jesus brings you to the end of yourself wanting more of Him. The gift of the Holy Spirit is a sealed kiss reminding you where true love comes from and your partner into working out your holiness. But if we keep seeking worldly comfort you can surely mourn the Spirit. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” -Ephesians 4:30. That voice that was once so tangible, becomes light whispers, memories of ardent love for Jesus, and sooner or later you ask where did you go. When it wasn’t God who left, it was you.
My beloved sisters, my heart is you never experience this kind of separation. That the love of Jesus doesn’t become just a memory. Remember the day you were adopted into his Kingdom as a Child of God. You can hold onto that passion, that hunger, and that healthy fear that causes us to draw near the throne of his grace in repentance. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” -Hebrews 4:16.
I don’t know what you have been holding onto that is causing distance between you and God. Relationships take work. Time and effort. Sacrifice of your comfort. Jesus sacrifice his life for us, we should do the same for him. And we need to be careful, to not become trapped into becoming hollow religious christians of this world. Be of pure heart seeking Jesus’ face, daily, by reading His word. This simple obedience will lead to other obedience and watch your heart be transformed by the renewing of your mind through His Word.
Discussion Questions :
- What are some of the things that keep you from spending time reading your Bible? How does it effect your day and your heart? How does it effect you loving others?
- Have you been in love before? Or have you been blessed to guard your heart rightly? Have you watched a romantic movie and you think to yourself “Oh, how I wish to be loved like that?” What is the difference between the love the world gives and the love of Christ gives?
- Do you remember the first time, Jesus’ love became real to you? That awakening in your heart that changed everything. Do you still find yourself doing things you wish you did not do and unsure how to deal with them?
- Read James 2:14-16. Why is faith apart from works useless?
- Read in Hebrews Chapter 11. What does it mean to have faith? How can we combat fear/feelings with our faith? Who are some great examples of men/women of faith in the Bible and what have you learned from their story? How can you apply that kind of faith in your life?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2