One great challenge in making disciples, is helping people want to be a faithful and devoted follower of Jesus Christ. That is a heart issue. Unless people love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, they will not make the desired progress toward growth as a disciple.
When God’s people have departed from Him, they may not realize it if they are looking at everybody else or other churches. Only when they examine themselves by God’s plumb line will they see the magnitude of their departure. The solution in returning is to correct our love relationship with the Lord so that we will choose to align our lives with His wishes and plans. The Leaning Tower in Pisa, Italy, is a visual illustration of the biblical message in Amos 7:7-8 about God’s plumb line along side His people.
Returning to our first love…
Returning to our first love is the place to begin. The resurrected Christ spoke to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2 about their departure from their first love. His counsel to them was "remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first" (Rev. 2:5, HCSB).
How can we help each other return to our first love?
1. Recall your salvation experience. What did God do? How did He pursue you? What did He save you from? What did He save you for? How has your life been different because of Him? What were those early days like when you realized He had forgiven you and saved you?
2. Remember the cross. Take some time to reflect on what Jesus did for you on the cross. Recall His suffering, the ridicule, the pain, and the shame. Think about the real blood that flowed to purchase forgiveness and cleansing from the guilt of sin. "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19, HCSB).
3. "Count your many blessings." The old hymn gives us good advise. As we count the many ways God has shown us His favor and mercy, we should be drawn back to the loving heart of our heavenly Father. Paul reminds us that God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
4. Listen to the testimony of others who love the Lord. Seeing and hearing of others who demonstrate a first love for Christ should cause me to desire what I see they have in their lives.
Do you have some other suggestions about how we can help each other return to our first love for Jesus?