Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 03/08/16

First Love Your First Love


STORY: Don’t Forget To Back Up!

I’m not good at backing up my car. Okay, I admit it! I try to use my mirrors, and I move my head around to visualize things, but I’m still awkward at maneuvering the car in reverse. Some parking lots and parking garages do not allow enough wiggle room, let alone parking room. 

On the other hand, when my Boston terrier Jazzy was a puppy, she seemed to gain pleasure going in reverse as much as she enjoyed moving forward. She needed one of those back-up horns blaring out a warning: “Watch out for Jazzy, she’s backing up!” She never looked where she was going; no mirrors to consult. She just reversed her footsteps in the same locations as when she was moving forward. It worked for her, like she was a pro at it!

I’m programmed to advance, not retreat; to progress, not regress. Most of my leadership training focused on one point: moving forward. We studied goal setting, becoming a visionary, striving for success—but nothing was ever said about the need to go in reverse every once in a while.

Unfortunately, I can’t avoid the reversals that happen in life. And I know they are good for me. They cause me to reflect and grow. When I have perceived set-backs, I evaluate what’s really important in my life. Those reversals keep me humble and grounded. Success without trials only produces empty victory, full of shallow egotism. Real growth happens when life says, “Go back. See what you missed. Learn from it.” Backing up allows us to see things in the proper perspective.

Sometimes the object we must go back to is our “first love.” Revelation 2:4b-5a KJV says, “Thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” The church was scolded for neglecting her first love and was challenged to return. They were instructed to back up and find where they lost it. When I lose something, I have to retrace my steps, and remember what I was doing when I last had “it.” 

Thinking about this causes me to make a fresh commitment to remember my first love (Jesus), and to accept reversals as they happen, knowing they will conform me into His image.

“Don’t forget to back up” is not just a motto for your computer, but your life! Go back to your first love. 

“You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first.” (Revelation 2:4b-5a NLT)

STUDY: Loving God

Love God With All of You
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 NLT)

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37 NLT)

The man answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NLT)

•    What does the word “must” tell us? Is this optional?
•    Who must we love? What does it mean for God to be your Lord?
•    These verses have slight differences, but the Luke verse includes all four ways we are to love the Lord. What are they? Think about each one—how might you show love to the Lord with your heart, with your soul, with your strength, with your mind?
•    What is the three-letter word that tells us the quantity of our heart, soul, strength and mind we are to engage when showing love to God? Not much wiggle room, between the word “must” and the word “all,” is there?
•    Luke 10:27 closes out our instruction to love God with all we have, by saying we are to love whom else?

If You Love God, Keep His Commands
Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. (Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT)

Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3 NLT)

•    What does God do for those who love and obey Him?
•    What do we do to show our love to God?

Choose Who You Will Love
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24 NLT)

•    What is our choice, according to this verse?
•    When we choose to serve God, we will be d______ to Him. What does that look like in your life?

STEPS: Show the Love!

•    All your heart. This week I will show God He is my Lord, and I’m devoted to Him, by making the right choice regarding: _________
•    All your soul. I will show God He is my Lord, and I adore Him, by using the giftings He gave me to serve Him fully. My gift is ________. I will you use it this week by _________.
•    All your strength. I will show God He is my Lord, and I’m disciplined to follow Him, by avoiding __________.
•    All your mind. I will show God He is my Lord, and I’m focused on Him, by controlling the distraction of ___________.
•    Love others. I will show ___________ I love him/her and God loves him/her, by __________.
•    Love yourself. I will love myself this week by _____________.


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