The past month has been great. Truly. More than a month into my junior year at Appalachian State University and this semester has started off really well. I can't complain. Really. It's good to be back into a routine, staying busy with schoolwork and activities, hanging out with friends and my beloved church family, just living the life. I've been thoroughly involved with iPals (a soon-to-be club on campus that aims to help internationals experience the true America by a pairing system), met some great internationals through that, coordinated transportation for forty plus students to a family's house for a cookout, met plenty of friends, hung out with old friends, played both types of football, gotten injured, fallen (I mean, typical me!), taken a few more big steps towards my own driver's license, gotten to know a great girl who is now my accountability partner, went without a laptop for two weeks and witnessed how God miraculously fix it....
I mean, it has got to be the best semester yet. Just last week, I didn't have a meal where I didn't have a plan for. I'm meeting up with people left and right, hopping around from class to work to meetings. I love hanging out with all these different people I've met this semester. I go to Bible study and share some great theological insight. I go to lunch and talk about Jesus with different people. I read my Bible and devotion every single day. I talk to God daily. I have a great bunch of edifying friends. I get all excited about some great opportunities to share the gospel and to be a light. I help a brother or sister; I do good acts. Oh my word, I have mastered the thing called religion.
"Religion quickly turns Christianity into acceptance, a group of people, an act of good works, a knowledge of literacy... but you MISS Jesus."
My pastor said that today and it was like a quiver hits bull's eye in my life. Where did I go wrong? Where, in all that good stuff, did I lose sight of the real goal? It went wrong when I forgot my first love. It went wrong when it became no longer about Jesus but more about what would Jesus do? Don't get me wrong, doing what Jesus would do is great, but the second your focus shifts from Jesus to an act that makes you feel justified because you're doing something God would "approve" of, is the second you have forgotten what it truly is all about.
Like the Church of Ephesus, I have forgotten my first love. I have forgotten what it was like when my alarm would go off at 6am and I was jumping out of bed so excited to spend some time with my Savior. I have forgotten the joy of worshipping God and the joy of being completely surrendered to Him. I have forgotten about that secure, intimate relationship I once had with Him.
So here I am, publicly confessing that I have forgotten my first love, and repenting and declaring today that I will return to my first love, that Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross for me.