Saturday, January 1, 2011


The word FIRST alone conjures up so many meanings and images. 

It’s a word that doesn’t need a lot of definition. However, out of sheer curiosity, I looked up its meaning.  It serves as an adjective, an adverb and a noun and the basic meanings are:  being before all others with respect to time, order, rank, importance, in preference to something, the beginning, winning position in race or competition, product or goods of the highest quality, above all else, at the outset, immediately, before anything else.

It’s the first of the year, and naturally, many of us stop to think about the potential of the days that lie ahead.

For me, in the final days of 2010 & now at the onset of 2011, I have been feeling challenged spiritually.  This has been stirring in me for a while, but yesterday it was solidified in me as I sat in a service and the minister dealt with that very issue.  Isn’t it interesting how God uses a myriad of things and people to underscore the very things He’s saying to us? 

I had remembered the passage in Revelation 2 that talked about losing our first love & have been admittedly convicted on that issue. But, I had forgotten that the church at Ephesus was at first affirmed and commended for their perseverance, discernment, good deeds and hard work for the sake of God. They had not grown weary in well doing. All tremendous attributes, all things that earn really good brownie points…but then God announces that he has something against them.  Really?  They seemed to be doing the right stuff!  And yet, they were called out and commanded to repent for losing and abandoning their first love. In other words, I can be doing good things, even godly things, and if he isn’t FIRST in my thoughts and the purpose for my actions, then I’ve totally missed it.   He must be my obsession. My desire must be for Him above all else.  Above even the good stuff.

This is not a new thought process for me.  It is a war that battles in my heart and head more often than I am proud to admit.  It means I have to continually be laying down my agenda, my interests, my relationships, and making sure that even the good I might attain to do is not superseding the very thing that He has called me to and that is Himself.  It is making sure that Matthew 6:33 is an active part of every day, that I am seeking His kingdom that I am seeking Him.

So, what does that look like?  I can’t say what it will look like for others, but I can speculate what it should look like for me.  For starters, it is intentional time with Him. Talking to Him, sure, but sitting to listen even more.  It is choosing to focus my affection on Him.  It is making sure that He is my first thought in the morning and my last thought when I lay my head on my pillow.  It is choosing to worship rather than worry and to pray rather than try to go through a million scenarios in my head of how something should be worked out.  It is placing my worship of Him back into a place of priority as I find new ways to tell this beautiful and incredible God just how much I truly do love Him.  It is making sure that I am pliable, teachable, and open to the things that He is wanting to still form and shape inside of me. 

I am grateful today for the reminder that the call to love God with all of my mind, heart, being and strength is greater than any other calling or vision or dream.   

When I think of the word first - may my mind and heart be drawn to my love for this God who has chosen to first love me.