Sanctification

Throwback Thursday ~ Six Ways to Leave Your First Love

Originally published April 29, 2016

6 ways first love

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: “The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: 2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. 6 Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
Revelation 2:1-7 (NASB)

Love…exciting and new….

If you’re a child of the 80s, you probably recognize those few words as the opening line of the theme song from the TV show, The Love Boat. It was all about romance, attraction, and the first blush of new love. Perfect strangers met, fell for each other in a matter of days and walked off the ship arm in arm when it sailed back into port. (There was also a lot of fornication, so that’s not an endorsement of the show.)

Anyone who’s ever fallen in love before remembers that excitement, the nearly illicit drug-like rush of those first days and weeks of romance. Your heart and mind are consumed with him 24/7. You can’t wait to see him again. Just having a conversation with him sets your toes a-tingle. You start realizing your friends are constantly changing the subject because he’s all you can talk about.

I remember those days when I first met my husband. After twenty-three years of marriage, that initial seedling of obsessive infatuation has grown into a sturdy, sedate, deeply rooted California redwood of love and trust. Our love for each other may not look like it did when we first started dating, but it’s still there. In fact, that love is bigger and stronger now than it ever has been.

It saddens me that it’s not that way for every couple. Sometimes, instead of puppy love growing into mature love, it’s more like a Fourth of July sparkler that burns brightly at first, and then fizzles down to a smoking ember as time goes by. Couples let things get in the way of their relationship. They pull away from each other instead of toward each other. They stop talking. They stop spending time together. Outwardly, they can be going through all the right motions, but, behind closed doors, their love has died.

And that’s where we find Christ’s bride, the church of Ephesus, in Revelation 2.

This is not a bad church where sin is running rampant and false doctrine is being taught. This is basically a good church. Christ commends the Ephesian church for their good deeds, hard work, endurance, and, especially, their discernment. Outwardly, they were doing all the right things, and doing them well.

But that wasn’t enough for Christ. Just like it wouldn’t be enough for a husband whose wife is simply a good cook, a good mother, and a good housekeeper.

Christ doesn’t just want the good deeds and doctrine of His bride. He wants her heart, too. Not just her labor, but her love. And because you and I are the church, He wants that from us as individuals as well. He wants our love for Him to steadily grow from that first spark to deep maturity, not to burn down to a smoldering wick.

Have you, like the church at Ephesus, left your first love for Christ? It can be so easy for our affection toward Him and our enjoyment of Him to slip away that sometimes we don’t even realize it’s happening. Maybe it’s time for a little evaluation? Got any of these dynamics playing out in your walk?

1. You spend a lot of time hanging out in one particular area of the faith.

It’s no secret that I hang out in Discernment Land a lot. Maybe that’s why this passage in Revelation hits me so hard. First Church of Ephesus spent a lot of time there, too. Discernment and contending for the faith are good things. Christ praised this church for standing strong against false doctrine and comparing every teaching to Scripture.

There are a lot of other wonderful areas of Christianity to explore and grow in, too. Studying theology is a good thing. So are prayer, worship, serving, giving, hospitality, evangelism, Bible study, and so on. But too much of one good thing can squeeze out time and desire for other good things. It can be challenging, but we’ve got to maintain a balance of all the good stuff in order to have a healthy relationship with Christ.

2. You’re in a “perseverance” season of life.

Life as a first century Christian was no picnic. People’s families turned against them, many lost their livelihoods, there was the constant threat of torture and persecution nearly inconceivable to us today, and false doctrine continued to creep into the church and had to be fought off. We get a little hint of this when, in the first three verses of this passage, Christ uses the words “endurance,” “grown weary,” and “perseverance” (twice).

When God is allowing or causing circumstances to occur in your life that put you through the wringer, you can slip into survival mode. But it’s not really survival without regularly communing with Christ. It’s vital that you spend time with Christ during these difficult periods of your life so your relationship with Him doesn’t grow cold.

3. Good works are overwhelming your schedule.

The good works God has called you to are a good thing. Just as Christ recognized the “deeds and toil” of the Ephesian church, He has prepared good works for you to do and wants you to do them. But there are those good works that God has prepared for you to do and will provide the time for: serving your family, serving your church, being a faithful employee; and then there can be additional good works you over-extend yourself for. When you are so busy serving – even at church or in ministry activities – that your personal relationship with Christ suffers or your primary area of service to your family suffers, you are too busy. It’s time to reevaluate and cut back somewhere.

4. You’re not faithfully attending church.

If you’re regularly choosing travel, ballgames, birthday parties, sleeping in, shopping, visiting family, or any other non-essential, non-emergency activity over faithfully attending church, you are sinning, and you need to stop it and get your heiney back in the pew every week. When Scripture says gathering for worship with other Christians is your first priority, you need to obey that.

But it’s more than just adhering to some arbitrary rule. God doesn’t make arbitrary rules. His commands are always for our good. When you miss church, you’re missing out on the teaching and proclamation of God’s word, the celebration of Christ with your brothers and sisters, the opportunity to fellowship with and help bear the burdens of other believers, the encouragement and sharpening of running the race with your teammates, and the chance to serve the body of Christ. All of these things direct our focus to Christ, His beauty and His love for us, which, in turn, grows our love for Him.

5. You’re neglecting personal time in the Word and prayer.

I spend a lot of time in and around the Word. I’m normally at church, Sunday school, and Wednesday night Bible study every week. I teach my children the Bible every morning. My husband leads us in family worship. I write about biblical topics, which requires study of the Word. I listen to sermons and Christian podcasts all the time. But even with all that, when I don’t get up and start the day alone with God in prayer and in His word, I can feel myself slipping away from Him. And I know from experience that if I let that go on long enough, there’s going to be a rift between us, I’m going to keep pulling away from Him, and I’m not only going to miss out on that intimate, loving communion with Him, I’m going to leave myself wide open to temptation to sin.

Neglecting your Bible study and prayer time has a similar effect on your relationship with Christ as refusing to talk to or spend time with your husband would have on your marriage. Don’t give Christ the silent treatment. Stay in close fellowship with Him through His word and prayer.

6. You’re cherishing sin.

It’s a sin. You know it because the Bible clearly says so. You do it anyway. You keep doing it because you like it. Maybe it’s something “big” like pornography or embezzlement. Maybe it’s something “small” like coveting or gossip. But every step you take toward that sin is a step away from Christ and your love for Him. Every time you commit that act, you’re saying, “I love my sin more than I love Christ.”

 

Have you left your first love? Are you going through all the right motions outwardly, but inwardly your heart is far from God? Are you committing spiritual adultery with sin, letting busyness crowd out your relationship with the Lord, neglecting time in the Word and prayer? Do you long for that intimate communion with Christ you once had? Great news! He wants that for you, too.

…remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.

God is gracious and merciful, and He wants your heart, not just your right actions. He stands ready to forgive you, reconcile you to Himself, and restore that sweet love and fellowship.

Mailbag, Sanctification

The Mailbag: How can I grow to love Jesus more?

Originally published June 11, 2018

I have been a born again Christian for many of years. But how do I get so in love with him?? Please can you help me.

This could possibly be my favorite Mailbag question ever. How can I love Jesus more? What a sweet and precious thought. I should be asking that question every day. We all should.

The first thing you will have to determine in your own heart, through prayer and study of the Word, is exactly what you mean by your question. Do you mean:

“I’m a Christian, but I consistently have no affection for Christ whatsoever. I just don’t really care about Him one way or the other, but I see other Christians who seem to genuinely love Him. How can I get those feelings for Jesus?”

or:

“I’m a Christian. I love Christ, but I want to develop an even greater love for Him. How do I do that?”.

If your meaning is closer to the first question, I would counsel you to examine yourself to see if you are truly saved as 2 Corinthians 13:5 instructs us. Except in extreme cases of emotional or mental disorders, someone who has genuinely been born again should have some sort of affinity, love, gratitude, and affection for Christ because of who He is and all He has done for her. If you honestly don’t give a flip about Jesus, that’s a big red flag signaling that you might not be saved, even if you think you are. I would strongly recommend working through my Bible study Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up as well as setting up an appointment with your pastor, a trusted, spiritually mature Christian friend, or a biblical counselor for counseling.

If you’ve compared your heart and life to Scripture and you’re certain you’re a genuinely regenerated Christian who wants to grow in the love she already has for Jesus, it’s simple. Just do what His Word says:

Study Your Bible

I would urge you to put away all of the “canned” studies (books, DVDs, etc. written by others) and simply pick up your Bible, choose a book, start at the beginning, and work your way through to the end. I cannot stress enough how much more rewarding studying the Bible for yourself is than relying on someone else’s materials, and how much closer it will draw you to Christ. If you’ve never studied the Bible on your own before, try taking notes on the text, or use one of my studies (see the “Bible Studies” tab at the top of this page) as “training wheels” to get started. Here are a few other resources that may help:

Bible Study Articles and Resources

10 Simple Steps to Plain Vanilla Bible Study

Rightly Dividing: 12 Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Bible Study

Bible Reading Plans

You’re Not as Dumb as You Think You Are: Five Reasons to Put Down that Devotional and Pick Up the Actual Bible

Pray

You can’t grow in your love for Someone you’re not spending time with. Set aside a designated, uninterrupted time of prayer each day in which you can take all the time you need to pour out your heart to God, worship Him, praise Him, and thank Him. But talk to the Lord throughout the day, too. “Lord, I have to discipline my child right now. Help me do it in a godly way.” “Father, thank you that these peaches I needed were on special today!” “I see Julie coming toward my office. Lord, she’s so hard to love. Please help me show her Your kindness.”

Resources on Prayer

Basic Training: 8 Things You Need to Know about Prayer

After this Manner, Therefore Pray

Can We Talk?

Be a Faithful Church Member

Find a doctrinally sound church that preaches and teaches the Bible well. Become a member. Faithfully attend worship service and Sunday School (aka: small group, Bible study, etc.) each week unless an emergency comes up. Find a place to serve, and get plugged in. Make friends with other members of your church and spend time in fellowship with them outside of church activities. Being fed the Word, serving the Body of Christ, and bonding with brothers and sisters in Christ will build your love for Him.

Basic Training: 7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians

All Word and No Play: The Importance of Fun and Fellowship in the Doctrinally Sound Church

Preach the Gospel to Yourself

Remind yourself of what Jesus did for you – the sin He saved you out of, the forgiveness, cleansing, and peace He freely gave you, the power the indwelling Holy Spirit gives you to resist sin and walk in holiness, the home in Heaven He has promised you.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:6-11

That’s what Jesus did for you. You. How could you not love Him more and more every time you think about that?

Basic Training: The Gospel

Be Thankful

Make it a habit to thank God for things throughout the day, especially the things you often take for granted. Can you read? Do you have enough food to eat and clean water to drink? Do you own a Bible in your native language? Do you have a car? Clothes to wear? Family and friends? Air conditioning? Chocolate?

Everything good in your life, every blessing you experience, comes to you straight from the hand of God. Think about what you really deserve for your sin and rebellion against God. Then think about the fact that He not only sacrificed His precious Son for you, but that He continues to bless you abundantly. Every thing you thank God for is just another reason to love Him more deeply.

Top 10 Bible Verses on Giving Thanks

25 Things I Forgot to Thank God For

Give it Time and Be Patient

My husband and I have been married for over 25 years. Everything I feel about him – my love, trust, respect, admiration, everything – has grown deeper since the day I married him. But it has taken years of walking through “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health” together to get to where I am in my love for him today. And if God blesses us with more years together, my love for my husband will continue to grow beyond where it is today.

It’s the same way with your love for Christ. Developing a deep, mature love for Him doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. There are going to be “for better” days and “for worse” days, but if you continue walking with Him – studying His Word, praying, investing your life in the church, remembering all He has done for you, and being thankful – over the years, your love for Christ will continue to grow and grow.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Biblical Womanhood Bible Study

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 8- Beautiful Biblical Obedience

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Read These Selected Scriptures

In lesson 7, we examined the concepts of loving God’s Word and being good students of God’s Word as important parts of biblical womanhood. But being a godly woman doesn’t stop there. We also have to obey God’s Word.

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review lesson 7 and consider the significance to biblical womanhood of knowing and loving God’s Word. How does knowing and loving God’s Word lead to and impact obeying God’s Word? Is it necessary to know and love all parts of God’s Word before obeying any part of God’s Word? Why or why not?

2. Study the Luke, Philippians, and Hebrews passages. Who is our ultimate example of obedience to God? To what extent did Jesus obey God (until it was inconvenient, costly, etc.)? How would you describe Jesus’ obedience to God and His written Word during His life on earth? In what ways does Jesus’ obedience set an example for your obedience to God’s Word? To what extent do you obey God? Has there ever been an instance in your life in which you disobeyed God because obeying Him would have been too costly? Considering Jesus’ example, is it ever OK with God for you to disobey Him because it’s too difficult?

3. Examine the James passage. Make a two-column chart displaying the differences between hearers of the Word and doers of the Word. What does James mean when he says that mere hearers of the Word deceive themselves? How does being a doer of the Word grow your understanding of the Word and your trust in God? What is the “perfect…law of liberty”? How do we “persevere” in that law, and why/how does persevering in that law bring blessing?

4. According to the 1 John 2&5 passages, loving obedience to God’s commands indicates two things about Christians: that we ____ God (2:3) and that we ____ God (5:3). In what ways does obeying God’s commands indicate that we truly know God (i.e. we’re saved)? In what ways does obeying God’s commands indicate that we love God? Why are God’s commands not burdensome (5:3) for the Christian?

5. Contrast the 1 John 2&5 passages with the chapter 3 passage. Is John saying that committing a single sin means you aren’t saved, or is he comparing a generally obedient lifestyle with a generally sinful lifestyle as an indicator of a saved person vs. a lost person?

6. Read the story of Saul’s disobedience to God’s Word in 1 Samuel 15. What did God tell Saul to do? (2-3) How did Saul disobey God? (8-9) When Samuel came to confront Saul in his disobedience, how did Saul respond? (13,20) Why, in Saul’s mind, did he think, or try to justify, that He had obeyed God? (15,21) What was the consequence to Saul for disobeying God’s clear instruction? (23,26,28)

What is/are the key verse(s) in this chapter? Explain how verses 22-23a summarize the main point God is teaching us by including this story in the Bible. Is “doing great things for God” that you’ve dreamed up ever an excuse for disobeying His clear written Word?

Describe the blame-shifting Saul engaged in (15,21,24), and compare/contrast Saul’s use of the personal pronoun “I” (13,20) in connection with obedience with “they/the people” (15,21,24) in connection with disobedience. Considering that disobeying the king’s orders was punishable by death, describe how flimsy this excuse was. Does God allow us to blame others for our disobedience?

7. Why does God require that we obey Him? Explain how our obedience a) glorifies God, b) is a testimony of the gospel to the lost, and c) is best for us, personally. Why is obeying God an important component of biblical womanhood?


Homework

Jesus was our perfect example of obedience, but we can’t and shouldn’t obey every part of God’s Word He obeyed. Even though we read about Jesus in the New Testament, He lived His entire earthly life as an Old Testament Jew. (This is because, during His earthly life, He had not yet instituted the new covenant of grace {by His death, burial, and resurrection} that Christians are under today.) In order to live a perfect life of obedience as Israel’s Messiah, Jesus had to obey the civil, ceremonial, and moral laws of the Old Testament. Do you understand the differences between these types of biblical law and why Christians are no longer bound by the civil and ceremonial types? Give this article a read and explain why, for example, Christians may wear garments of mixed fabrics but may not commit adultery.


Suggested Memory Verse

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 
James 1:22

Biblical Womanhood Bible Study

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 7- The Beauty of Knowing and Loving God’s Word

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Read These Selected Scriptures

In lesson 6, we took a look at membership in the Body of Christ – both the church catholic, and the local church – and how that membership is part of our identity in Christ. Today, we’ll examine loving and being good students of God’s Word as a component of biblical womanhood.

Questions to Consider

1. Examine the Mark 12 passage. Verses 29-30 are often called what, according to the section title above the passage? What are the two main verbs (the two things we’re told to do) in The Great Commandment? (29-30) What does God command His people to “hear”? Why does the command to “hear” come before the command to “love”? How do God’s people today “hear” about the one true God and learn how to “love” Him?

What does it mean to love God with all your mind? Compare and contrast loving God with your mind to loving God with your heart, your soul, and your strength. Respond to this statement: “Pursuing God with our minds – studying the Word, learning theology, etc., – is one of the ways we love God.

2. Read the 2 Peter passage, focusing on what it says about knowledge. How has God “granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness”  – “through” what? (3) How do we get this knowledge? Where do we find God’s “precious and very great promises,” and what do we receive “through” these promises? (4) How does verse 8 sum up the goal of the knowledge of God in conjunction with the characteristics in verses 5-7? What does all of this teach us about the importance of pursuing the knowledge of God through His Word?

3. Who was 2 Timothy written to? By whom? For what purpose? (Choose a Bible Book Background, if needed, to refresh your memory.) Does that mean this passage is only applicable to pastors, or especially to pastors, but also to all Christians? Look closely at verse 15. Explain how you can “rightly handle the word of truth” in your own daily life and context. To whom does verse 15 say we either present ourselves as approved workers, rightly handling the word of truth, or present ourselves in shame if we are not? Is rightly handling the Word primarily for the glory of God, or for the good of man? What are the consequences for ourselves and others of not handling God’s Word correctly, according to 14,16-18?

4. Psalm 119 might be the perfect Scriptural example of the knowledge of God’s Word leading to a greater emotional affection for God. Instead of studying each verse of this psalm individually, read it as a whole unit, noting along the way the importance the psalmist places on the Word of God and what studying Scripture led to in his heart and his relationship with God. Notice also, his expression of emotion, and his love and affection for God.

As women, we’re sometimes prone to being ruled by our feelings, and we often rightly cite Jeremiah 17:9 as evidence that we should not trust our feelings over God’s word. What does Psalm 119 teach us about feelings, emotions, and affections that are fueled by God’s Word?

5. Explain why knowing and loving God’s Word is an integral part of biblical womanhood.


Homework

Many Christian women pit the idea of loving God with our minds (“head knowledge”) against the idea of loving God with our hearts/souls (“heart knowledge”), often leaving the impression that pursuing God intellectually is inferior to, different from, and sometimes even less feminine, than an affectionate, emotional love for God. According to the Mark 12 passage, is this a fair assessment or a false dichotomy? How can loving God with all your heart lead to loving God with all your mind, and vice versa? Evaluate your love for God in terms of how you love Him with your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength. Write down any weaknesses in any of these areas and ask God to strengthen you. Write down any growth you’ve seen in any of these areas, and praise God for growing you.


Suggested Memory Verse

Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
Psalm 119:111

Mailbag, Sanctification

The Mailbag: How can I grow to love Jesus more?

I have been a born again Christian for many of years. But how do I get so in love with him?? Please can you help me.

This could possibly be my favorite Mailbag question ever. How can I love Jesus more? What a sweet and precious thought. I should be asking that question every day. We all should.

The first thing you will have to determine in your own heart, through prayer and study of the Word, is exactly what you mean by your question. Do you mean:

“I’m a Christian, but I consistently have no affection for Christ whatsoever. I just don’t really care about Him one way or the other, but I see other Christians who seem to genuinely love Him. How can I get those feelings for Jesus?”

or:

“I’m a Christian. I love Christ, but I want to develop an even greater love for Him. How do I do that?”.

If your meaning is closer to the first question, I would counsel you to examine yourself to see if you are truly saved as 2 Corinthians 13:5 instructs us. Except in extreme cases of emotional or mental disorders, someone who has genuinely been born again should have some sort of affinity, love, gratitude, and affection for Christ because of who He is and all He has done for her. If you honestly don’t give a flip about Jesus, that’s a big red flag signaling that you might not be saved, even if you think you are. I would strongly recommend working through my Bible study Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up as well as setting up an appointment with your pastor, a trusted, spiritually mature Christian friend, or a biblical counselor for counseling.

If you’ve compared your heart and life to Scripture and you’re certain you’re a genuinely regenerated Christian who wants to grow in the love she already has for Jesus, it’s simple. Just do what His Word says:

Study Your Bible

I would urge you to put away all of the “canned” studies (books, DVDs, etc. written by others) and simply pick up your Bible, choose a book, start at the beginning, and work your way through to the end. I cannot stress enough how much more rewarding studying the Bible for yourself is than relying on someone else’s materials, and how much closer it will draw you to Christ. If you’ve never studied the Bible on your own before, try taking notes on the text, or use one of my studies (see the “Bible Studies” tab at the top of this page) as “training wheels” to get started. Here are a few other resources that may help:

Bible Study Articles and Resources

10 Simple Steps to Plain Vanilla Bible Study

Rightly Dividing: 12 Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Bible Study

Bible Reading Plans

You’re Not as Dumb as You Think You Are: Five Reasons to Put Down that Devotional and Pick Up the Actual Bible

Pray

You can’t grow in your love for Someone you’re not spending time with. Set aside a designated, uninterrupted time of prayer each day in which you can take all the time you need to pour out your heart to God, worship Him, praise Him, and thank Him. But talk to the Lord throughout the day, too. “Lord, I have to discipline my child right now. Help me do it in a godly way.” “Father, thank you that these peaches I needed were on special today!” “I see Julie coming toward my office. Lord, she’s so hard to love. Please help me show her Your kindness.”

Resources on Prayer

Basic Training: 8 Things You Need to Know about Prayer

After this Manner, Therefore Pray

Can We Talk?

Be a Faithful Church Member

Find a doctrinally sound church that preaches and teaches the Bible well. Become a member. Faithfully attend worship service and Sunday School (aka: small group, Bible study, etc.) each week unless an emergency comes up. Find a place to serve, and get plugged in. Make friends with other members of your church and spend time in fellowship with them outside of church activities. Being fed the Word, serving the Body of Christ, and bonding with brothers and sisters in Christ will build your love for Him.

Basic Training: 7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians

All Word and No Play: The Importance of Fun and Fellowship in the Doctrinally Sound Church

Preach the Gospel to Yourself

Remind yourself of what Jesus did for you – the sin He saved you out of, the forgiveness, cleansing, and peace He freely gave you, the power the indwelling Holy Spirit gives you to resist sin and walk in holiness, the home in Heaven He has promised you.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:6-11

That’s what Jesus did for you. You. How could you not love Him more and more every time you think about that?

Basic Training: The Gospel

Be Thankful

Make it a habit to thank God for things throughout the day, especially the things you often take for granted. Can you read? Do you have enough food to eat and clean water to drink? Do you own a Bible in your native language? Do you have a car? Clothes to wear? Family and friends? Air conditioning? Chocolate?

Everything good in your life, every blessing you experience, comes to you straight from the hand of God. Think about what you really deserve for your sin and rebellion against God. Then think about the fact that He not only sacrificed His precious Son for you, but that He continues to bless you abundantly. Every thing you thank God for is just another reason to love Him more deeply.

Top 10 Bible Verses on Giving Thanks

25 Things I Forgot to Thank God For

Give it Time and Be Patient

My husband and I have been married for over 25 years. Everything I feel about him – my love, trust, respect, admiration, everything – has grown deeper since the day I married him. But it has taken years of walking through “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health” together to get to where I am in my love for him today. And if God blesses us with more years together, my love for my husband will continue to grow beyond where it is today.

It’s the same way with your love for Christ. Developing a deep, mature love for Him doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. There are going to be “for better” days and “for worse” days, but if you continue walking with Him – studying His Word, praying, investing your life in the church, remembering all He has done for you, and being thankful – over the years, your love for Christ will continue to grow and grow.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.