Having Jesus For Your First Love

Title: Having Jesus For Your First Love
Category: Devotions
Subject: Love
Love is "the greatest thing in the world," according to the late Henry Drummond. He defends and develops the thesis of his book based on 1 Corinthians 13:13, which declares, "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." Paul instructs us in the next verse to "pursue love" (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Jesus stresses the utmost importance of love in his reply to a lawyer's loaded question (Matthew 22:34-40). Note that Jesus'' answer to the lawyer comes directly from Deuteronomy 6:5 which says, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." Then He quoted from Leviticus 19:18 which says, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus was not speaking on His own authority but on the authority of the Word of God (John 14:10b).

We read in Luke 14:25-26: "Now great multitudes went with Him [Jesus]. And He turned and said to them, 'If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." In this passage we find the multitude, the Messiah, and the mandate.

In this day of mega churches it is interesting to note that Jesus was unimpressed by the thronging multitudes. We discover that Jesus actually turned people away who did not love Him supremely, as in the case of the wealthy young ruler (Luke 18:18-30). This young man suffered from a case of "philarguria" pronounced (fil-ar-goo-ree'-ah) also know as "avarice" or "the love of money" as it is rendered in 1 Timothy 6:10. William MacDonald explains in his classic titled True Discipleship: "The Savior is not looking for men and women who will give their spare evenings to Him-or their weekends-or their years of retirement. Rather He seeks those who will give Him first place in their lives." (See Luke 14:17-24).

After beginning His public ministry, Jesus was asked, "'Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me'" (Matthew 11:2b-6). Here Jesus shares compelling evidence that He is the long awaited Messiah. Jesus repeatedly claimed to be God as we discover in the following passages: (Matthew 7:21-29; 9:2-7; Luke 14:26; John 5:17-18; 8:42-47, 55-59; 10:22-23, 30-36; 14:6; 17:5-8 and 20:28-29).

Jesus gives an unusual mandate in Luke 14:26 for His followers to "hate" their "father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and our own life also." In the Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, Dr. Herbert Lockyer explains, "This is relative hatred. It is not the opposite of love . . . . To hate our relatives for the sake of Christ (Luke 14:26) means to love them less than we love Christ (Matthew 10:37); it does not mean to hate them absolutely." Let us love our Lord supremely.

Paul the apostle prays for his readers ". . .that [God] would grant [them], according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith; that [they], being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that [they] may be filled with all the fullness of God"(Ephesians 3:16-19).

How often do we joyfully exclaim with the psalmist, "I love the LORD . . ." (Psalm 116:1a) or with David, the sweet singer of Israel, "I will love You, O Lord. . ." (Psalm 18:1a)? To each one of us Jesus replies, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). May we as believers never hear our Lord Jesus Christ say, "you have left your first love" (Revelation 2:4). The greatest thing in time and in eternity is having Jesus for your first love!