If there is one message I could share again and again it would be to about the importance of knowing Jesus as our first love. Without realising we can gain lots of knowledge but have no living relationship with Jesus it can lead to developing a form of religion. It begins by starting to have laws and rules in our hearts that in turn become like idols we adhere to; creating a culture of this is the way. None of this is done intentionally it just happens over a period of time when maybe we take our eyes off of knowing Jesus as our first love swiftly moving into knowing lots about Him. Distraction, busyness, unexpected life events, anything can sneak in at any time.
I have found myself revisiting one question in myself “Where am I at with Jesus? Are my eyes still on Him and knowing Him and His ways as a priority or am I so full of idols in my heart I can no longer see the Jesus I first met many years ago?” It is no negative thing to keep a check on where we are at in our heart for as the Bible says in Proverbs 4: 23 “Guard your hearts for everything you do comes out of it.” Idols come as a seed, take root and before you know it we have a massive tree that takes some digging out. They turn up in subtle forms eventually stealing from us the life God has planned. Idols can definitely cause trouble for us.
So how do we uproot the idol seeds /trees that have grown and confused our walk with God into a legalistic religious snare. We can sit with Jesus at some point in the day ask him the question “where are we at then, are there any idols I need to release from my heart?” Let the Holy Spirit gently speak to you not to condemn or accuse but rather so we are set free to keep eyes fixed on our first love, Jesus Himself. Jesus gave up his very life for us all out of love and compassion toward us not duty.
In our garden we have an apple tree with lots of really small apples on it. I was asking why they are so small and my husband explained that when you prune a tree back it is able to produce larger apples in quality but less quantity of them. Best we hack the branches back then. As Jesus explained in the book of John chapter fifteen we go through pruning so the quality is better. It is for our own benefit. So, let’s embrace removing the idols and letting Jesus have more space, the quality of our lives will only improve as will our relationships with others and all we do for the Kingdom in the season.
John 15:1-4 1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.