May We Stay Lit for Jesus, Our First Love

lamp-first-love

by Heather Bock

When I returned from LIT, a one-day conference for women in their 20s and 30s passionate about communicating Christ, put on by Living Proof Ministries, my husband was wary. He knew I was excited, and he was happy for me, but he was concerned.

I’ve come back from conferences before–two Christian writing conferences–and both times, I returned with a long list of items to accomplish. I learned a lot about what I need to be doing if I want to be a published author someday, and I stepped up my game in a big way. For the most part, that was good. It’s a lot of hard work to get a Bible study published, and I want to be faithful to tell others what God has taught me. I hope whatever I say in my Bible study and blog will be an encouragement, and that through them, others will know more about God, causing them to turn more towards Him. However, this has made me busier than I was before–really busy at times. Writing might be important, but my first ministry is to my own family. Greg was concerned I would add more to my list that might pull me away from quality time spent with him and the kids.

I thank God, though, that His message to me at this conference was not to do more tasks for Him. As I mentioned last week, He gave me a clear message to keep on with what I’m doing–to stay faithful to the task He has set before me.

He did, however, call me to something–depth with Him. He wants me to do all I used to do to stay close to Him before I became so busy; He wants me to return to my first love. If I don’t, He will not be able to use me except as a warning to others. As Beth Moore said at the conference, “Secrets manifest.” What I do or don’t do in my private, quiet times with God will come out for the world to see.

  • I must go back to daily Bible study instead of the spotty, random times I’ve been having with God.
  • I must go back to using my actual Bible or Scripture written on paper to study. Using my phone to read the Bible is way too distracting for me.
  • I must go back to daily prayer with my heart engaged, for myself and for my friends and family. I haven’t been out of touch with God, but I haven’t been as in touch as I used to be.
  • I must go back to private daily worship, like when I used to regularly pour out my heart in love to Him.
  • I must go back to Scripture memory. How long has it been since I regularly recited verses, putting them in a place in my mind where I could pull them when needed, where the Holy Spirit could bring them up when needed?

My heart lifted as I listened to Beth Moore talk to us about grit. We need grit if we want to follow Jesus and have any kind of effectiveness for His Kingdom. Well, that’s a good thing because, oh, I have grit. God has given it to me in abundance. I used to apply it to fiercely protecting my time with Jesus, but in the last six months or so, I have mostly turned it to my pile of work instead. How can this be?

Jesus says in a scary passage in Revelation (Rev. 2:2-5) to the church in Ephesus that He knows they have had perseverance and have endured for His name’s sake, but He says, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.” These Christians were working hard for Jesus’ sake, but they had lost the heart behind it.

These are sobering words, but I find hope in them. I can, and if you are headed the direction I was heading, you also can repent. We can use the grit God gives us and turn to Jesus, our first love, and in doing so, we will stay LIT.

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39 thoughts on “May We Stay Lit for Jesus, Our First Love

  1. I’ll be praying for you as you get back to your first love. I understand needing to refocus and really just make it you and Jesus: I’m doing that this year in a way I never have. Blessings on your journey! Persevere, Satan hates when we refocus on Christ. Much prayer and discipline can be needed some days but oh, sweet sister, He is so worthy.
    ❤Jessica

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  2. Amen, Heather. I have to continually have to pull myself back into focus on prayer, Bible study and true worship. I rarely use my phone Bible for the reasons you mentioned. Plus, I like to write and mark in my Bible. Great post—thanks. God bless you for your transparency.

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  3. Heather, wonderful encouraging post. I read what you wrote to Jessica you are not a failure. You can never fail God. He chose us before the foundations of the world to be holy and blameless in Christ. He sees us in Christ. Yes He wants a close relationship with us, I need to spend more quality time with Him and your post has helped me refocus. But He never looks at us as a failure. He is our loving Father who is waiting for us to spend time with Him. I’m so glad for Beth Moore and I’m glad that you shared her message with us you are precious and I praise God for you God has many plans for you

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    • Thank you, Cherrilyn. Your sweet words are a needed reminder. I want so badly to be fully sanctified now–I usually feel my own sins get in the way of God using me fully–but I need to be patient and grow as God helps me grow. I also need to remember that His power is made perfect in my weakness. How could He show His power and grace without that?

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  4. Heather, thank you for your transparency in this post. I can relate in so many ways. I’ve actually been praying about stepping back from trying to find a publisher and just keep writing for my women here. I’m trying to hear God’s leading, and your post is so timely. I’m praying for you in this journey.

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  5. It’s always unnerving to know that someone has been peeking into your life . . . which obviously you have, because you described exactly what I’ve been dealing with (and didn’t know it). It’s easy to “drift” and not realize it happens because it’s gradual. But when I’ve drifted, life issues bother me more than usual, piles of work seem more pressing than usual, and I find myself feeling a bit snarky with people I care about. Those are signs that I’ve drifted, and it’s where I found myself as I read your post.

    So, God used you as you strung words together at your keyboard to yank on my mind and heart today. Such a good reminder.

    And that, my friend, is why we write . . . not to get famous or make a ton of cash . . . but to let God use us to impact others in ways we’ll never know about (unless they comment on your post).

    Thanks, Friend – Keep writing.

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  6. It seems that talking about God as our first love was perfect for the conference. We can get so caught up in serving God and doing good, that we miss the best! And that’s spending time with Him first. Then we’re ready to light the world on fire for Christ. Thank you for your post, Heather!

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  7. Thank you for these reminders, Heather. I have been convicted of this since LIT, too. As many times as I’ve said these things before and been devoted in them, somehow they can still start to fade, and I need to come back to them more fully again in prioritizing my first love.

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  8. Wow, this is exactly my experience. I came home from LIT with a fire to be more intentional in my walk with Jesus AND my writing, but I have found that trying to find a new rhythm with my 4 littles, hubby and work is an ongoing process.

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    • Heidi, yes, it sure is! We have to be tenacious about seeking Him–clinging to time with Him fiercely, even if that means doing it at a different time. If I can’t finish in the morning, I need to spend dedicated time with Him in the afternoon. If I can’t do it then, it must be in the evening. I have to be a bulldog about it!

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  9. AMEN! Will cover you in prayer, as this is also where I need to grow too–especially in my prayer life. I’ve become “un” disciplined in that area, and I need to fight to get it back.

    Thank you for sharing your heart!

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