First love recovery exercise

loveburnsThis is a personal evaluation exercise to help you recover lost ground in your relationship with God and enter into the best that God has for you. He is after a hot love from us, lukewarm is what He loathes, and this is the 3 step solution designed by Him in the Scriptures to help you go from lukewarm to hot.

I wrote this as a result of a desperate search I did a number of years back in search to recover what I once had in my relationship with God, but somehow I dropped it in the mist of a busy and demanding lifestyle and due to various disappointments.

I knew I was not the same as I was before in my love for Jesus, not that I was in advert sin, but I was not as passionate and as on fire as before. I allowed myself to become lukewarm. I allowed life to push me around and mold me into a lukewarm Christian. I allowed various painful experiences to take the edge of my relationship with God, especially when things I dreamed of did not turn out yet the way I expected.

I tried hard from time to time to get back to where I used to be, every time falling in a heap of exhaustion after only a few weeks. I thought getting my first love back was more like whipping up some high level emotions for God and a big burst of motivation and that will do it. But it did not work, for the same reason why New Year resolutions don’t last long into the year usually: it was based on my strength to recover and in me trying to get back to God on my own instead of asking God HOW to get back to where I used to be and doing it with His help and presence.

I finally realized that I really did not know how to get back to my first love, my efforts have failed, and my own motivation was not good enough. I then gave up trying (finally!) and asked God HOW to recover the lost ground and get back to being on fire for Him.

The exercise below is what He lead me through via Scripture to get me to come out of the lukewarm state and into hot love for Him, back into His glorious abiding presence.

If your heart is desperate for a change, just like mine was, and you want to recover your first love and live a victorious life full of God’s presence, please take your time through the exercise below, don’t rush it and do it with God, talk to Him throughout the exercise.

 

It is based on a 3 steps solution God gave the church  in Revelation 2:5 for recovering their first love.

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works”

God’s 3 step solution is defined very clearly:

  1. Remember from where you have fallen
  2. Repent (this includes drawing near to God and getting filled with His Spirit)
  3. Do the first works

It will help you:

– remember how your life looked like when you were at the peak of your relationship with God

– where you are with the Lord right now

– and how you can bridge the gap and recover any possible lost ground

We are called by God to:

Hold fast to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Revelation 3:11

The fact that the Lord has given us the solution in 3 easy to follow steps should give us hope that recovery is possible and as we walk with Him through it, we will achieve it.

 

INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE THE EXERCISE:

Before you start the exercise below, please pray and ask the Lord to bring to your remembrance all the attitudes, ways of being and things you did that you once held to tight and they really nurtured your relationship with God.

This exercise cannot be done just by yourself. Talk to the Lord through the whole process. Don’t ask Him just what to change, but HOW to change it.

Your life might be very different now than it was at the peak of your relationship with God maybe you have more responsibilities, less time, less energy. Therefore, you need to commune with God as you go through this exercise so you can actually find out from Him HOW to adjust your existing life, with all its demands, to still include the habits you once had, though they might now need to be modified in terms of how much time and effort you can devote to it.

Don’t try to attempt to do exactly what you did then, in terms of time and effort input. You probably were much younger, full of energy and did not have many responsibilities. Trying to apply the same investment of time and effort you put in then into your much busier life now could lead to a short burst of hope filled activity, followed by exhaustion and failure due to unrealistic expectations.

The principles of the habits, attitudes, the ways of being and doing that you so carefully followed then still are valid and this is what the Lord is asking you to return to, but their execution in your present, more demanding life, will take a modified form, adjusted so it is realistic. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you what is realistic in your particular case.

Your temptation will be, out of zeal, to want to do everything the same way and in the same quantity as when you were at the peak of your relationship with God. God is not after a literal copying of your past experiences, but rather recovering values and habits that fuelled your relationship with God and applying them with wisdom into our present life, yet in modified form.  We need to allow the Lord to show us what is wise for now and what is sustainable for the long term, given our present obligations.

This could change from time to time, as various seasons in life change, from busy to busier or from busy to less busy.

Once the Lord reveals the things you can recover, don’t try to apply them all at once. Again, ask the Lord for a timeline or a plan on how to apply it in your schedule. If we try to change too much too fast, we can fall down on our faces in failure and discouragement. Let the Lord show you how to apply the recovery plan. It might start with one thing you change and apply till it is again a habit and then go to another, or it might look like attempting a few changes at first and then adding some extras later on. He knows you and your life best, so trust Him with His guidance in the WHAT, WHEN and HOW.

As part of the evaluation below, we will also look into the things that might make us busy but in a way to distract us from the Lord and keep us preoccupied with what is less important. It is not just about what we did that we need to start to redo, but also about what we chose not to do in order to be close to the Lord.

Let’s pray now and ask the Lord now to show us the things that we need to change:

Dear heavenly Father, I ask you in the Name of Jesus to bring back to my remembrance the way I was and the way I lived when I was at the peak of my relationship with You. Show me what attitudes I used to have, what values and habits I lived by and what helped fuel my love for You. Show me how my life looked like on a daily basis then. Once you reveal that to me, please show me how to recover and apply these things in my present life and when I can put them in calendar, so I can actually change, not just wish I change. You alone know best my life and my present state and I trust you to guide me into the best You have with me, step by step implementing the change you desire. Thank you in advance. Amen.

  1. REMEMBER from where you have fallen

A. Describe below how your relationship with God looked like at the peak of your love for Jesus:

 

 

 

B. write down below the things that were part of your life at the height of your relationship with God:

  1. habits you used to have at the greatest height of your relationship with God

 

2. attitudes you were careful to have

 

3. ways you thinking, ways of speaking, ways of being

 

 

4. things you were careful not to do, things you stayed away from, things that might not have been bad in themselves but distracting from your main purpose to be close to the Lord.

 

 

 

5. things you did that fueled your relationship with God:

 

2. REPENT

Repent by deciding that you won’t stop till these things are again part of your life and by making a plan to introduce them back into your life, starting today.

Go to each of the things you wrote down – one by one – and ask the Lord HOW to apply the change to your present life. Ask Him things like:

 

  1. Is this thing still something I need to apply at this point in my walk with God?
  2. How can you fit this thing in my calendar so it can become a regular part of my life again?
  3. Are you to shift certain things in order to make place for the changes?
  4. Are you to stop doing certain things that take your time away from implementing these changes?
  5. WHEN is it reasonable and sustainable to start to apply the change? Is it straight away or after another step is fulfilled first?

(Warning: the devil will always say to you that today is not convenient and it should be put off indefinitely, but God will always tell you when you can fit it in in such a way that you will succeed at making the change. Don’t listen to Satan’s procrastination message and at the same time, don’t try to change everything all at once, but ask the Lord to give you a timetable on how to apply the changes in a way that will actually produce the desired fruit in your life.)

Go through each point you wrote down in the ‘REMEMBER’ section above and ask the questions from the ‘Repent’ section. Then write God’s answers down on a piece of paper.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

The most important change you can make is to set time aside to draw near to God and get filled with the Holy Spirit. This one step will help you with all other steps of repentance, because you will be empowered by the infilling with the Holy Spirit to implement the changes of your desired repentance. You cannot implement the changes coming from a duty mentality done on the dry. You need the presence of God and the infilling of His Spirit, so you can do the changes WITH God helping and guiding you. This is the most important repentance step without which the others might simply not work.

 

3. PUT THE CHANGES IN YOUR CALENDAR (DO THE FIRST WORKS)

 

You could diligently do all of the above and still remain unchanged if your desired changes do not end up listed in your diary and your regular routine as ‘to do’ lists.

Ask the Lord how to plan the sequence of changes. Some could be started straight away, others might need to wait for you to make some space in your life so you can implement them. In this case, put in your calendar when you are going to make the space to re-arrange things. Nothing should be left in the realm of wishing, it must all end up in your calendar. This is the difference between wishing and actually changing. If it doesn’t end up in your calendar and then the calendar followed, it is just a nice pipe dream and not an actual change.

If any changes arise from this process, feel free to drop me a line and discuss it with me at mari @ christian-faith.com or find me on Facebook.

May God lead you as you remember, repent and do and then help you to hold fast to the recovered ground.

Feel free to share this with your friends as long as you include the whole document, including my contact details.

Blessings

Marilena Fackerell

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