I plan to write on this at some more length over at Pyro. But in the meantime, after a morning start of my too-usual struggles with focus and priorities, I get to reading my daily Spurgeon, Morning and Evening. And what is the evening post for this anniversary of my conversion?
“Thou hast left thy first love.”I don't need to read providences as omens and portents to see this as a potent message to my soul. There are certain passages that always give me something along the lines of a gasp, always send me back to first principles. This would be one of them.
Ever to be remembered is that best and brightest of hours, when first we saw the Lord, lost our burden, received the roll of promise, rejoiced in full salvation, and went on our way in peace. It was spring time in the soul; the winter was past; the mutterings of Sinai’s thunders were hushed; the flashings of its lightnings were no more perceived; God was beheld as reconciled; the law threatened no vengeance, justice demanded no punishment. Then the flowers appeared in our heart; hope, love, peace, and patience sprung from the sod; the hyacinth of repentance, the snowdrop of pure holiness, the crocus of golden faith, the daffodil of early love, all decked the garden of the soul. The time of the singing of birds was come, and we rejoiced with thanksgiving; we magnified the holy name of our forgiving God, and our resolve was, “Lord, I am thine, wholly thine; all I am, and all I have, I would devote to thee. Thou hast bought me with thy blood-let me spend myself and be spent in thy service. In life and in death let me be consecrated to thee.” How have we kept this resolve? Our espousal love burned with a holy flame of devoutedness to Jesus-is it the same now? Might not Jesus well say to us, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love”? Alas! it is but little we have done for our Master’s glory. Our winter has lasted all too long. We are as cold as ice when we should feel a summer’s glow and bloom with sacred flowers. We give to God pence when he deserveth pounds, nay, deserveth our heart’s blood to be coined in the service of his church and of his truth. But shall we continue thus? O Lord, after thou hast so richly blessed us, shall we be ungrateful and become indifferent to thy good cause and work? O quicken us that we may return to our first love, and do our first works! Send us a genial spring, O Sun of Righteousness.
The exegesis of the passage is far from simple, but the implications are fairly plain. It is possible to be fairly rigorous on doctrinal correctness, and yet to have grown to love poorly, wrongly, disproportionately; to let an otherwise-good passion displace the best passion.
Let us pray for ourselves, and for each other, that God the Holy Spirit stir our hearts with the right love for the right object. And of course, no object is so worthy of our love as the Triune God (Deuteronomy 6:5).