One day during a prolonged time of praise and worship, God gave me a message. Although it was softly spoken, the words were unmistakable. In part, God said,
“Turn back to your first love. Turn back to the beginning.”
God is pretty clear and direct, isn’t he? And yet, I doubted. I didn’t doubt God or the message, just me as the recipient. You know how someone will tell you God is going to do a new thing in your life and everyone gets all excited with a “bring it on, God!” attitude? That was me until this new-for-me thing actually happened.
Since God was doing a “new thing” with me, I didn’t quite know what to do next so I fell back on what I did know. The Bible says to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21) so I started there. I asked God to confirm this message as only he can. Sure enough, Holy Spirit did just that in multiple ways. First, he led me to a passage that seemed to glow off the page. I had an unshakable knowledge that this passage was significant in regards to the message God had given me.
One Of Many
Shortly thereafter, two of my friends shared that they were given a message from God. Imagine my surprise as I listened. Although we were each looking at it from different perspectives, we had each had been given the same message of turning back to our first love!
A few days after that, I was on Pinterest and stumbled across an image with the exact verse God had given me. After I read the attached post, I searched for more such pins but came up empty-handed. Was stumbling onto this pin graphic a conscience or a God-thing? It had to be a God-thing that I even noticed this pin. The verse on the image wasn’t common. In fact, it was a verse of correction and redirection so most would tend to avoid it in favor of the pretty, “feel-good” verses that everyone loves to share.
To be honest, I was a bit intimidated at this point. These three ladies are what I would call “heavy hitters” for God’s Kingdom. I wasn’t sure why God gave me this message but I was pretty sure I wasn’t ready for a prophetic message like this.
I felt like King Solomon in 1 Kings. Solomon was spending time praying and praising God after his father (King David) had passed. Solomon thanked God for his great kindness in appointing him (Solomon) to be the next king of God’s people. (Isn’t it neat the way God lets us peek into the prayer life of his saints?)
Even though Solomon was born and raised for this moment, he obviously still didn’t feel qualified because as he continued his prayer he confessed to God, “but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around.” (1 Kings 3:7).
Have you ever felt that way when God asked something of you?
One Subject, Different Perspectives
It might seem strange to you that God would give each of us the same message with different perspectives. When I asked God about this, he reminded me that we have four gospels, all about the same subject(s) but from different perspectives and written in each writer’s personal style. Why did God do that? I’m not sure. Maybe it was because each would appeal to a different audience. Or was it to drive home the significance of what Jesus Christ was doing on earth. Perhaps it was for reasons that have not yet been revealed.
We see in 1 Kings that God rarely will bless only one person when he needs something said or done. He knows that as much as we love him we mess up. Elijah thought he was the only Prophet left. God had to remind Elijah that he was one of many, all with a similar message, all waiting in the wings to be used. (1 Kings 19:18)
You might still be wondering which of one of us was viewing and delivering God’s message correctly. Maybe all of us, maybe none of us. To be honest, I’ve no idea. What I do know is that ultimately it doesn’t really matter. God has a plan bigger than any one person and he is not dependent on ANY mortal man. In Esther 4:14, Mordecai let Esther know that if she chose not to speak up for her people, God would use other means to accomplish his goals. Mordecai asked Esther, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
God isn’t limited by us. If we refuse to speak up or act, he is not left unprepared. I am truly confident that we four are not the only ones God has given this message to, I just haven’t come across them yet. And even though we each have our own style, as long as our message remains true to what God has given us, God’s will be done.
God Gives It To You For A Reason
None of us know what the future holds, nor what God might ask of us. Trust me when I say I was not expecting God gave me a message like this. He has something for each of us and your something could be something similar or completely different. Just don’t expect it to resemble my experience. Our God is an awesome God! He is creative, kind, and generous. If you ever question this, read each healing account in the New Testament and see the different ways Jesus healed and his demeanor as he healed.
I fully admit I was hesitant to share this message. I was waiting on more pieces of the puzzle to be answered. After a while, it became more important to me to obey than to be “in the know”. Sometimes, we have to simply trust God and not worry about the next step, the next word, the next anointing. That is faith in action.
There are a few things I want you to take away from this post. The first is that if God has given you something, he has given it to you for a specific reason. Like me, you may not understand what he is asking of you. That’s okay. If it is his will, he will reveal it in his time. But he may choose not to reveal it and simply expect you to obey. You have to be okay with that.
Next, regardless of what he asks, God knows where you are at and what you’re capable of. Keep in mind that even the disciples had to take the time to learn at the feet of Jesus. You might not have confidence in your abilities but God does. And he is never wrong.
Keep reading for the third takeaway (and the reason for this entire post).
The Message Continues
Even more important than the first two takeaways is the rest of the message God wants to be shared:
“My people what have you done?!? You worship your buildings of wood and stone. You have made idols of your pastors, prophets, and musicians. You blindly follow my so-called “chosen people” who do not even know my name. Turn back to your first love — Me. Turn back to the beginning. Do you not know I Am the Beginning?”
What does all this mean? I don’t know. You will have to ask God what these words mean for you. I only know it is a message for God’s people; a warning, a correction. What it says to me is that every one of God’s people needs to search their hearts, judge their own fruits, and repent to God as needed. If we do not do this on our own, God will.
Take An Honest Look
Are we guilty of creating idols with our churches, our pastors, our bibles, and even our crosses? Are we turning to these idols instead of turning to God? God is with us always. He hears our every prayer. Why do we think we have to be in a church building or in front of certain people for our prayers to be heard in Heaven?
In the Old Testament, they needed a priest to be their intercessor; we do not. Jesus died for that privilege; a mere man did not. The Holy Spirit is our helper. We are to turn to him before we turn to anyone or anything else. If you choose to turn to someone or something else instead, you are creating and worshipping at the altar to your man-made god. God is calling each of us to smash the alters of our gods and turn back to him.
Turn Back To Your First Love
God has never turned someone away who sought him, even if that someone had willingly walked away in the past. So pray for wisdom and help to turn from the alters you have created. This isn’t something God will do for you. You have to do the work with God’s grace.
Us humans are capable of creating an idol out of anything, large or small. If you doubt that, ask yourself where your thoughts stray? You need to pay attention because your eyes and head will soon follow. God is a jealous God and he is not willing to share his children. He longs to have all his people back.
Turn back to the beginning — back to God. Seek him for who he is, not what he can give. Worship him because he is worthy, not because it makes you feel good or someone from the pulpit told you to. Spend time with him just the two of you. Learn for yourself who he is, what he thinks, what has happened to those who followed or disobeyed him in the past. When you have a question, good news, or feeling needy, go to God FIRST. But don’t just talk at him, talk with him. He loves you and he is waiting.
Sweet Jesus, I am so sorry I forget that it is all about you. It’s not about me. You are my everything and I adore you. Thank you for blessing me so that I can bless your people. Help me to identify and break the strongholds I have allowed in my life. Lord, I’ve created so many idols but you are not a god created with my weak human hands. You are my living hope. I bow down before you and proclaim that you alone are my Lord and my God.
God, I am so thankful that you are still on your throne. I am so thankful that you have not given up on us but have extended your grace once again. All throughout history your people have turned to other idols and gods. I am so sorry that I have become one of those people. You don’t deserve the way we are treating you.
I pray for your church, my brothers and sisters. Lord, we have deceived ourselves. We try to operate in your power but are without power because we are double-minded in our devotion. Forgive us. I pray every one of your children will seek your face, allow their hearts to be softened to receive your message, turn fully back to you, and smash the alters of their idols and gods.
Lord God Almighty, I pray that we as a people turn from our wicked ways. Help me to remember how to worship your heart, Jesus. I ask that you put a longing in our heart to hear you say “You are my people, I am your God.” I pray that each of us turns back to you, our first love, without delay.
In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen!