4Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. (Revelation 2:1-7)
Do you cringe at this passage of Scripture? Most Christians do because they know they don’t love Jesus as they should, and this just reminds them of that. But Jesus wasn’t speaking of returning to how we first loved Him; He was talking about returning to our revelation of how He first loved us. As the apostle John put it, “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Often, preaching is centered on how we should love others. Although this is certainly appropriate, the greatest and most distinguishing characteristic of a true Christian is their love for the brethren. (John 13:35.) But we can’t give away what we haven’t received. Until we have a true revelation of how much God loves us, we can’t genuinely love others. Trying to do so without a vibrant, experiential love within us is like trying to give someone a drink from a well that’s run dry. It can’t be done!
The Christian life is not just hard to live; it’s impossible to live in our own strength. True Christianity is not you and I living for Jesus, but Jesus living through us (Gal. 2:20). Nowhere is this more apparent than in loving other people. The kind of love Jesus commands includes turning the other cheek (Matt. 5:39) and forgiving those who crucify us (Luke 23:34). This kind of love is humanly impossible. We can only live this way by walking in the supernatural love that only comes from God.
Therefore, loving others is the fruit—not the root—of God’s love for you. As you return to the joy of understanding how much God loves you the way you did when you first received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you’ll love others more accidentally than you ever have on purpose.