ONCE UPON A TIME, you had a marvelous encounter with God. You felt His love all around you. You knew you were loved, and you only had eyes for Jesus. He was the only One for you. Everything in your life felt right, it felt good. No mountain seemed too high, because you were floating on a heavenly cloud of His grace and love.
But, something happened. Something changed. God didn’t change. His love for you sure didn’t change. Yet, instead of feeling lighter than air, you began to feel like a deflated balloon: abandoned, powerless, and pointless.
I WAS WITH DOUG ONCE, as he counseled a man who had been struggling with sin. His old man kept showing up, leading him back into the life Christ had saved him from years earlier. He became so frustrated and upset as he talked about how hard it had become to live righteously, that he finally burst out and said, “I need to get that feeling back. I don’t have that feeling anymore.”
In essence, he was saying he wanted to go back to the Damascus Road, back to that time and place where he first met Jesus, where he first felt His love, and where he first knew Christ as Savior. He thought he could finally be obedient, again, if he could just have that old feeling, again, too.
He was looking for a Jesus fix, and that’s as wrong as it sounds.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST is experiential, but while our initial experience with Jesus is something we should always remember and share, we should be having new experiences with Him every day!
In Revelation 2, the Lord speaks to the church of Ephesus about their Damascus Road experience. He is telling them: Remember when?
“Yet there is one thing wrong; you don’t love me as at first! 5 Think about those times of your first love (how different now!) and turn back to me again and work as you did before; or else I will come and remove your candlestick from its place among the churches.” (Revelation 2:4-6, TLB)
It reminded me of what this Brother had been talking about to Doug. However, notice the Lord’s instruction. He doesn’t say, “Go back to the Damascus Road! Let’s start this relationship over.” No, His exhortation to Ephesus is, “Repent. Or, else.” They have lost that lovin’ feelin’, because they have forsaken their relationship with Him, choosing self and sin over service and Him.
But, there is still time! There is still time to repent and turn back. The ball is in their court.
THE BALL IS IN OUR COURT, TOO. If we’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’, it’s not Christ’s fault. He hasn’t lifted His love from us. He hasn’t stopped interceding for us before the Father, or showering us with His mercy and grace. He hasn’t forgotten us, or cast us aside. He has remained faithful. It is we who stop short and turn away, falling back into our old life. It is we who stop loving Him, not the other way around.
I know. I read that and think the same thing you may be thinking: “No! I love God with all my heart.”
Yet, when I have found myself in that place, feeling spiritually deflated, powerless, and pointless, I ask the Holy Spirit to truly examine my heart, to see if there is any wicked way in me (Psalm 139:23-24), and I always find that there is a lot more compromise than I could see on my own. Self and sin are so blinding, so deceitful. It is why we often stay in those places of compromise so long, because we trust too much on our own judgment, instead of remembering that only He can judge our heart. We cannot trust our feelings, or our judgment. We need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes.
Then, when we have allowed the Spirit of God to search us and the Word of God to test us, we know how to repent. As we humble ourselves before the Lord once again, prostrating ourselves at His feet in repentance and surrender, we will find that feeling we were missing. Our hearts will once again be full of love for our King. And, we will find ourselves walking in the ways of righteousness with a greater strength, purpose, and lightness!
THERE IS HOPE, MY FRIENDS. So much hope! Turn away from the compromise, the sin, and the selfish lifestyle. Turn away from satisfying your flesh, and be restored to the One who loves you best, the One whom your soul longs for!
God bless you, dear ones. Jesus loves you, right where you, but He longs for you to walk in true freedom, power, and victory. I long for that for you, too!
PSALM 130:1-6 (TLB)
From the depths of despair, O Lord,
I call for your help.
2 Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.
3 Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
4 But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.
5 I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
6 I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.