The mere mention of his name causes her head to lift, her eyes to shine, and her face to light up with a dazzling smile. When she is in his presence, her glow increases exponentially. He has been patient, and his wooing took a long time. But when she finally realized his love was genuine, she couldn’t stop talking about him. She had fallen in love with him.
Jesus is the bridegroom, and we are the bride. Have you fallen in love with Him? Does the mere mention of His name cause you to light up? Do you talk about Him to others, listing all the incredible ways He loves you?
Earlier this year, I had the privilege to tour the seven churches of Revelation. It was an incredible experience to walk where Paul had walked and to hear his letters read in the cities for which they were written. Ephesus was especially meaningful. In Paul’s day, it was the second-largest city in the Roman Empire, a bustling port metropolis. Today, the ruins have been well-excavated and chronicled, making it easier to envision Paul’s life in the shadow of the senate, the 25,000-seat theater, the magnificent marble temples and numerous statues.
To the church of Ephesus, Jesus said, “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” When you are truly in love, you don’t say, “I can hardly wait to walk away from this relationship.” And yet, that is what Ephesus did. Jesus went on to say, “Repent and do the first works.” Remember those long phone calls, surprise gifts, and fun-filled dates when you were ecstatic just to spend time together with your loved one? Those first works built your relationship and demonstrated your love for each other.
How can we keep our first love with Jesus alive and filled with first works? The answer is simple: Spend time with Him. Hear His voice calling you to love Him deeper. Rehearse all He has done for you. Let His love fill you to overflowing. Then the first works will pour out of you in every conversation—the natural sharing that happens when you are in love. As you share your first love with others, they can have their own experiences with Jesus. Your first works change the world.
As you contemplate how to keep your love for Jesus burning brightly, remember how He poured out His life for you. He publicly proclaims His intention for you—to heal your brokenness, to proclaim your freedom, to recover your lost sight and to free you from oppression! His love encircles you as He draws you into His eternal family. No more war, no more pain, no more tears.
Keep your heart tender to His wooing. Take Jesus’ love to others. Let this be your first works of response. Be a part of growing His kingdom to your family, your neighborhood, your nation and around the world.
And you can use AFM to enlarge the sphere of your first works. You may not be able to bring Jesus to unreached people groups, but through your gifts, AFM missionaries can. As you read this magazine, you will encounter many people looking for Love. You can help give them the opportunity to experience their own first love with Jesus by supporting AFM’s mission. To give, simply fill out the envelope in the middle of this magazine or call 1-800-937-4236 (1-800-Yes-4AFM).
May you forever experience the joy of first love that comes from working with God in the thing He cares about most—saving the lost.