Here’s a couple of questions for all the married sisters out there…not the newlyweds, but those who have been in the trenches of holy matrimony for several years. Do you love that man the way you loved him when you first said “I Do”? Do you still find yourself fondly thinking of him every moment of every hour of every day? When you think of him, do you feel as if you need to do whatever you possibly can to please him because you are so madly, crazy, head-over-heels in love with him? Or are you simply going through the motions because of the vows you made way back when?
Ok, my married brothers, now it’s your turn. Do you still crave your wife like you did when you first pursued her? Does your heart still flutter in anticipation like it did as you went down to one knee to pop the question? Or are you just going through “daily rituals” out of a sense of obligation because you feel like your life is on “lock-down” to your proverbial ball and chain?
Now, let’s flip the script and ask yourself this question: If you still had that passionate, OMG crazy love for your spouse, how would it make you feel if he/she, although obligated to you, no longer loves you the way you love him/her?
I couldn’t even imagine how deep that hurt would be. I’m sure the first thing that would creep into my psyche is insecurity. I’d begin to wonder if his faithfulness would last. I’d probably ask myself if he would eventually drift so far away that he would ultimately turn his back on me altogether, in spite of his knowledge of just how much I love him.
Now picture how Jesus felt as he confronted the church of Ephesus. This part of His bride that He loved so dearly, is the same part that only served Him out of obligation. The love was no longer mutual. Today, He is still feeling the pain of so many of us who have lost our First Love.
Think back to when you first said “I Do” to Jesus. As for me, I couldn’t stop thinking about Him. When I awoke, He was there in my mind. I would bathe myself in His Word, and the sentiments of His Word would carry me through my day. I couldn’t wait for the time just to speak to Him, even if I didn’t know what to say (remember, “that’s what tongues are for”). Praising, dancing and shouting all around the church was the highlight of my life. Words about His goodness just oozed from my mouth like honey.
But something always seems to happen to cool down that fire of love we once shared. It’s called life. When the cares of this life begin to take more priority over our intimacy with Him, our love begins to cool down.
While this is the reason some people eventually turn their backs on Him altogether, there are so many of us who find ourselves in the “rut of the Ephesians”. What was once relationship is replaced with religious ritual. We feel obligated, but no longer passionate. We still hold fast to our values, but not to our communion with Him. For so many in the Body of Christ, we have simply become at ease in Zion, and content to dwell there.
How can you tell when your love for your Lover begins to wane? To find out, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you finding that more of your prayers are rehearsed or repetitious?
- When reading the Bible, are you reading words without reading what He is saying?
- When you praise Him with your lips, is your heart far from Him (i.e., are you saying “Hallelujah” but thinking “I wonder if I should cook chicken or fish”)?
- Do you spend more time seeking what is in His hands rather than seeking His face?
- Do you find yourself yielding to temptation more often?
- Do you feel like you’ve grown stagnant in Him, as if you’ve stopped growing altogether? Then chances are you have.
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, there may be a possibility that you no longer love Him like you loved Him at first.
PASSION RE-IGNITION INSTRUCTIONS
The only way to remedy this situation is to apply the 3R rule Jesus gave the Ephesians.
First, you need to REMEMBER where you were before you fell into this state of obligatory religion. Give yourself some alone time to reminisce on your life with Him when you first fell in love with Him. Remember all the promises He made and kept. Reflect on all the times that joy, peace and love seemed to be your portion in abundance. Think back to all the times He comforted you when you found yourself mourning or depressed. Recall all the tough times He brought you out of. Do you have all these events, incidents, and emotions in your grasp? Then move on to R#2.
REPENT! That’s right. Apologize for not allowing the fire of your passion for Him to remain. It is up to you to fan the flames of your romance with Him just as you would with your natural spouse, so don’t just stop at asking for forgiveness. Start stirring up that flame. Set a “date night” with Him and keep it. Let that date night be the starting point of your reunion, then graduate to R#3.
REWORK your first works. You remembered all He did for you, in R#1. Now embrace all the things you did for Him and begin to do them once again with your whole heart. In time, He will give you a new heart that pants after Him. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself back in wedded bliss, on your second heavenly honeymoon.
In all this, Jesus is only asking you to “Love Me like You Loved Me”.
 Revelation 2:1-7
 Luke 8:12-14
 Amos 6:1
 Revelation 2:5
 Ezekiel 36:26, Psalm 42:1