I was asked yesterday. “When was the last time you had that fire like you had when you first gave your life to Christ?”
This was a question for all in attendance to answer personally and quietly. The verse referenced was Revelation 2:4,
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
Thinking to myself, I knew the answer. But my answer was one I was ashamed of. I cannot think back on a time when I was truly on fire. Like, seriously. I remember when I first said the prayer to accept Jesus. A woman came to my cousin and I and asked, “Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” I said no, I didn’t understand. She lead my cousin and I in a prayer. I was 12. I remember this moment, and Mrs. Yvonne who I spoke with.
Though I prayed it, I didn’t experience change.I was young. My mom was an example, but the age gap didn’t make it relatable. I grew to be apart of ministries as a teen, extremely involved but still unchanged. I was doing whatever I wanted. Heard things preached to me, but I was who I was. The youth ministry seemed to be a gathering of room temperature believers, being preached at about sex, obeying our parents, and homosexuality.
Many of the people there grew up in church, Their parents were heavily involved in church and dragged them along. Or those who just came to be social.
Things changed when a family came who really experienced change from God. They were judged and they were envied. They were pointed out, but they were so influential that many of us are still in contact with them. The teenage girls experienced change many of us had not seen. The oldest girl was radical, she was ridiculed. She wasn’t like the crew. She didn’t fit in. She loved Jesus and allowed Him to change her. We ain’t see much of that. I admired her, but when growing close to her I was told I was changing. The people around me didn’t like me hanging with her very much. She had a change I wanted, while others looked down on it. She wasn’t perfect, and neither was I but she was CHANGED. No one encouraged that change. She introduced me to a real relationship with Christ, to unconventional music that was about Him, and how to use my gifts to glorify Him!
There were times I was on the brink of something. I always seemed to be knocked down. I was encouraged to be someone who people liked to hear, but a relationship with Christ I never learned how to pursue. I experienced “community” for the first time in college at a campus church. When trying to bring experience back home I was ridiculed. I experienced fire at a conference that enlightened me to the mission of God. About being passionate enough to give your life to God. When I tried to take it back home I was told “you’re just excited”. I was on the outskirts, but could never get in.
I have been in Church since I was a young child and went to a Christian school for 4 years. Growing up I learned principles but never really had the foundation. I had faith, but no standards. I didn’t visit other churches, I didn’t see how others did it. At age 25 I realized I grew up as a uncultivated believer, I was churched.
I can’t recall the days with my first love because I never had those days.Revelations 3:5,
Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first…
I didn’t fall, I never rose. Until now. I have witnessed so many young people involved in so many church activities and ministries and they wouldn’t even wait to get out the doors to be who they were outside of church. This always confused me. But the truth is it’s culture. There is a generation of “I saw my mama do all this church and she dragged me here but I have never experienced God for myself” Christians.
Many of the teens from that youth group I see on Facebook, most without mentioning Church. And I don’t say that to judge, I say that to point out our lack of change. I was there before. And it is not to disqualify a ministry or raise up another. It is to confront a culture that is all over our country.
Consider how far you have fallen is not just for an individual but for the church, for the young adults who have never dwelled in the presence but scratched the surface. Now is the time to go after Jesus like we never have before! Now is the time to open our eyes to how Big He is and how much He loves us! I think that requires us to be honest.
I don’t think I am the only one who feels this way or had this experience. I am telling the truth hoping someone else can relate to it. Even after years and years of Church, it is never too late to experience the love and presence of Christ!