When I first became a Christian I was in a small group with three other women. I am sure I was their personal project that they formed a group around. I was clueless. But being a new baby Christ follower, I was in love with Jesus.
Everything was so new for me. I was reading the bible for the first time, attending a new church plant in the movie theater, and meeting weekly with these women to make sense of it all.
One week one of them mentioned drifting away from God.
I just found Him, what are you talking about, screamed in my head. I couldn’t receive this information. Maybe she just hasn’t done it right. Maybe she didn’t love Jesus as much as me.
Seeing the panic on my face, the ladies tried to reassure me. They explained it wasn’t that I would stop believing or leave the faith. I would just drift. Everyone does. It is life getting in the way.
I remember prayingit took me 36 years to find You, please keep me close. I won’t drift because I am making up for decades of lost time. I will be different.
Fifteen or so years later, I get it. I wish I didn’t. I have never stopped loving Jesus. I have never even stopped going through the motions. I have created a life around my faith and it is ever present. So what does drift look like?
Drift for some may mean straying far off the path of staying in relationship with God, but for me it was an intensity of my emotions that dulled over time.
This weekend at church my pastor preached on my exact situation. His sermon “Remember Your First Love” described my feelings perfectly when I first found Jesus:
First love is wonderful, It fills up your senses. It changes the way you look at everything. You’ve got a secret tucked in your heart. And you want to tell it. No one could talk you out of it. This is just the greatest.
This was me.
I was so crazy about my new found faith that I wanted to change my life. This passion and the idea these ladies had put in my head about drift, were the impetus to quitting my job and changing my vocation to a faith-based path. If I am a Christian counselor seeking the Lord in all I do, I can’t possibly drift.
I will build a fortress around my faith and nothing will change.
But once the changes to my career were made…..
Once having a faith-based vocation became every day….
Once my routine of prayer, bible study, and serving became routine….
It is subtle.
Our pastor says in his sermon that the solution is rather simple. How do we drift back? How do we reclaim our first love? No one who ever falls in love wants the feelings to diminish. Jesus doesn’t.
From his sermon:
The gospel news is that the Lord Jesus remains passionate for his bride, the church. He pursues us even when we have gone into drift mode. His words are strong. They drip with passion. They arise from love. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent. And do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” He won’t let us go without a fight.
How to Get Back To Jesus
The first step is to remember.
My mind began to think back on the crazy love sick things I did, and said, and thought.
The passionate drive down the street thinking about how Jesus feels when the world does all of these things that are the opposite of what he wants, tears trickling down my face, deep emotional response to thinking about my savior…..
Hearing a song on the Christian radio station and wanting to raise my hands in worship in the car while driving regardless of safety… and regardless of the people’s opinion in the car next to me…
Being so excited about Jesus life-changing, life-saving powers that I can’t help tell every person, heathen or not, about what Jesus has done in my life, even if the setting doesn’t call for it.
The memories were not just the facts, the things I did, the words I said, or the thoughts I had…the feelings were there too. As I began to remember, the emotion came over me.
I felt what I used to feel. I remembered with all of me the passionate, child-like, bubbling over need to share my Savior with anyone and everyone.
I teared up thinking about how disappointed the Lord must be in me for drifting. I had promised Him I wouldn’t. I had built the fortress.
But the fortress is external and Jesus lives within us. We have to keep the fire burning on the inside. We need to fuel our heart for Jesus, not just our minds and actions.
He Never Drifts
The most incredible wonderful thing of all is that He is always still there. He doesn’t drift at all. As soon as I re-engage my heart, not just my routine, I find Him with open arms.
All it took was to remember.
Remember my first love.