By Linda Lyle
Do you remember your first love? My first love was words.
I was hooked from the moment a teacher showed me how letters make words and words make a story. I was a voracious reader.
The library was my sanctuary, where I found a special kind of comfort from the rows of books.
Summers would have been long for this country girl if it hadn’t been for the Bookmobile deliveries.
The librarian who drove my route came every two weeks, and I was always finished with my allotted five books before she returned.
I waited with excited anticipation for the first sight of the van pulling into the parking lot of the store where my mother worked, anxious to see what she had brought for me this time.
However, as I got older, some of my excitement waned as college required reading of a different sort, and all my time was taken up by studying.
Eventually, work required most of my time and energy, and my passion for reading fell by the wayside.
Then, I met the Word. I discovered a new kind of excitement and renewed joy as the words of the Bible came alive—speaking life to my spirit.
As a new Christian, I dug into the pages of Scripture, eager to see what it held for me.
I participated in missionary trips and eventually went to seminary.
Once again, studying, tests, and writing papers took their toll on my enthusiasm. Eventually, reading the Word became an item to check off of my to-do list.
The joy of the Lord speaking to my spirit was muted by the cares of the world.The joy of the Lord speaking to my spirit was muted by the cares of the world.
Maybe this is what happened to the church at Ephesus. Revelations 2:4-5 KJV says, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
God commended the church on its faithfulness and hard work, but He said they had lost their first love.
What they once did joyfully became a task on their to-do list.
It’s easy for things that become part of our routine to become, well, routine. It happened to the church at Ephesus. It happened to me.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be permanent. The Scriptures show you how to reignite your faith and restore the joy and excitement you once felt, whether for Bible study, a ministry you are involved in, or just everyday life.
Four Steps to Reignite Your Faith!
When tasks that we once did with joy become more like a weight, the Scriptures show us how to reignite our faith with four r’s:
Following this biblical path can help us find our way home again.
Reignite Your Faith Step 1: Remember
The Scripture tells us that we need to remember who we are serving: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Ps 103:2, KJV).
When we remember what God has done for us, it helps us focus on the reason for our service rather than the task at hand.
Gratitude can go a long way to adjusting our attitude.
The Old Testament recounts God’s glorious deeds and admonishes the Israelites to tell them to the next generation.
Why the emphasis on retelling? Stories remind the people of God’s blessing and teach the next generation about God’s great works. They help us remember why we started on this journey in the first place.Gratitude can go a long way to adjusting our attitude.
Reignite Your Faith Step 2: Repent
Revelation 2:5 also tells us that we must repent. We have to admit that we are guilty of letting the world steal our joy, forgetting God’s many benefits to us, and letting the holy become mundane.
Repentance is not meant to beat us down; it is meant to free us: “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Act 3:19, NASB).
Repentance is not just an admission of guilt; it is also a means of receiving a refreshing from God.
God wants us to live an abundant life, not one of never-ending to-do lists.
Give your lists to God and let Him show you what is needful and what is busywork. Let Him prioritize your lists and be willing to let things go if they are keeping you from your calling.
Reignite Your Faith Step 3: Return
The next step is to return to your first works. This doesn’t mean what you are doing now is wrong; it is more about returning to the attitude of joy and excitement you had in the Lord when you first became a Christian.
The Psalmists often penned requests for renewal: “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Ps 51:12, KJV).
I know from personal experience that God is faithful to fulfill His promises. When we return with a new perspective, we find the excitement we once had for serving Christ even in everyday tasks.Four steps to help you re-ignite to the attitude of joy and excitement you had in the Lord when you first became a Christian.
Reignite Your Faith Step 4: Respond
In Revelation, the letter to Ephesus ends with a reminder to “listen to what the Spirit says” (Rev2:7, KJV).
Listening is more than hearing; listening requires a response on our part.
Paul summed up how we should respond in light of what God has done for us when he wrote: “ And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col 3:23, KJV).
Whether you are teaching Sunday school or washing dishes, it’s important to strive to do your best for the Lord.
When we put our best efforts forward, we can rest at the end of the day in peace and satisfaction of a job well done.
God will bless those efforts even in things we consider small and insignificant.
Putting the Four R’s into Practice
Is there some area of your spiritual walk, ministry, or service that feels a little stale? Is there something you do that seems more like a job than a blessing? Maybe it’s time to take a walk down memory lane and remember why you started doing it in the first place and who you were doing it for.
Here are some tips to help you reignite your faith by using the Four R’s in your daily walk:
- Remember who God is and what he has done for you by starting a gratitude journal.
- Repent daily so that you can start each day refreshed.
- Return by praying over your to-do lists to discern what should be a priority.
- Respond by doing everything as if you are doing it for God, even washing dishes.
And never forget that the mundane can become holy when we do it as an act of worship.
Linda Lyle is a writer, knitter, and single mama to two crazy cats. When she is not running the office at a machine shop, she is working part-time at The Taming of the Ewe: A Yarn and Tea Boutique or scribbling ideas on her blog, At the End of My Yarn. You can also connect with Linda on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.