The aftermath of Valentines week: a time when those that are single can be reminded of how painfully single they are, which can be more that a little depressing. I thought it appropriate to share some thoughts about true love, especially since our culture communicates something entirely different than what the Bible does.
First, true love is comprised of three components: romance, emotional intimacy, and commitment. Romance is often referred to as “chemistry”; at it’s most basic level it is physical attraction. If a relationship only has this it is shallow and will fizzle out in time. Emotional intimacy is about connection; this is when two people share what’s deep within their hearts with no walls, instead of pushing each other away they draw one another closer. If a marriage only has emotional intimacy the spouses become roommates, it can become a passionless relationship. Commitment is all about loyalty. Those involved in relationship with a high level of commitment are not looking for something better, but are willing to stick through the tough times and make things work. Any relationship without all three components will eventually breakdown, but a relationship with all three is considered “True Love”.
Now the question becomes, “How do you find True Love?” The answer is simple: before you can find your true love you must find your First Love. The problem that plagues most relational paradigms is that people are looking for the right person, hoping to find wholeness in a relationship, thinking the answer to all their problems is found in Mr. or Mrs. Right. But the truth is that no one will ever complete you or make your life better. If anything, relationships don’t fix your problems, they expose them. If you want to find true love, you need to stop looking for the right person and start becoming the right person. If you are not the right person, when you find true love you will end up destroying it.
How do you become the right person? Return to your First Love. In the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to forget your First Love. In Revelation 2:2-5 Jesus says, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works”. It’s interesting, these people did all the right things, they looked good on the outside, but they had left their first love. The state of their heart did not match the appearance of their lives. Does yours?
What do you do when you realize that you have left your first love? Remember, repent, and return. Remember from where you have fallen—can you think of a time when you were more in love with Jesus and aware of His presence than you are today? If you can, remember what it was like. Next, repent. Realize that if you are farther from God today than you were a few months ago or even a year ago, that is no okay—you need to repent! Finally, return to the first works. There are things you can do to nurture a deep and abiding love of God (e.g. prayer, meditation, solitude, study, etc.), begin engaging in those activities once again.
Don’t let your fire for God dwindle into smoldering ashes, stoke the flames and let your love for the Lord burn brightly. Remember, if you lose your First Love, you’ll never be able to find your true love.