During my devotions, God led me to the scripture in Jeremiah 2 where He speaks about Israel’s sufferings as a result of sin. Israel, a people delivered by God out of the slums of captivity in Egypt left their first Love. They remembered not the Father’s goodness and saving grace in bringing them to a new land, and they began to sought after the foreign gods (idols) of their past from which they were delivered.
In this passage, God describes Israel in verse 2, as once being a people who chased/ sought after the Lord and the things of the Lord, especially in their youth or in the midst of a wilderness season (trying & dark seasons/ hard times). God remembers this people as a kind people in their youth. “Israel was holiness to the Lord, the first fruits of His increase.” (Jeremiah 2:3)
This people, loved greatly by God, have exchanged His love for idols that do not benefit them. They forgot to give God the glory for the works of His hands. Instead, "They worship the works of their own hands" (See Jeremiah 1:16)
In revelation 2, God makes another address to a people of a similar nature:
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your labor, and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate those who are evil, and you have tested and exposed as liars those who falsely claim to be apostles. Without growing weary, you have persevered and endured many things for the sake of My name. But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love. Therefore, keep in mind how far you have fallen. Repent and perform the deeds you did at first. But if you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this to your credit: You hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God.”
“Would You Now Return To Me?” Declares The Lord (Jeremiah 3:1)
The Father’s Address to a People Whom He loves
“For the LORD corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:12)
“For My people have committed two evils: They have abandoned (rejected) Me, The fountain of living water, and they have carved out their own cisterns, Broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
Today, the Father wants to address a group of His people who have forsaken His love and truth and traded it for compromising pursuits. These pursuits are compromising because they either go against the will/ instructions/standards of God or become idols- replace God or are placed before God and sought after wholeheartedly. These pursuits may be in the form of greed, ungodly habits, ungodly relationships, vanity, secular opportunities, material things, fornication, wicked acts, adultery etc. Or perhaps, these pursuits may simply be busy work/life schedules that excludes/neglects personal time spent with God. The Father’s heart cries out for a people who have become complacent in their walk with Him; a people who have become distracted by the things of the world that have caused them to relapse into bad habits or error. A people who have stopped seeking the Lord wholeheartedly, and their hearts are far from Him. God is no longer a priority in their lives.
This people have heard and know the truth. They have tasted of the goodness of God. Many of them have been delivered or have been led in the right way before by the Father’s hand but have somehow become sidetracked by the enemy who has subtly lure them away from the truth. Some have simply forgotten the sweet love of the Father. Others have willfully or intentionally turned their backs on God in disobedience because of past hurts, failures, heartbreak or impatience.
The Father is well acquainted with human suffering and pain. He is always willing and eager to love our hearts back to life again. However, we must be patient and willing to endure His beautiful process of growth that only leads to true freedom and fulfillment. The Father is calling to return to His love, a people who no longer have a fear of the Lord in their hearts. He is calling for His people to remember His love. His heart's desire is to heal the brokenhearted and to restore all that has been lost (See Deuteronomy 30:3-13). These beloved children of God are not bad people. They have simply shifted their gaze on things that do not profit.
The Danger Zone
There are harmful consequences attached to intentional and ongoing sin without repentance, whether those consequences are in the near or distant future (See Jeremiah 2:19 & 2 Chronicles 7:14). This is why it is so important to stay the narrow road that leads to life in Christ (See Matthew 7:14). There's no need to run back to the past. God has given us all grace through Christ to stay the narrow road. The road to following Christ will not be easy, but it is truly fulfilling, life-giving and rewarding! Everything God has in store for us is truly worth the wait on the narrow road. True repentance keeps us on this road that leads to true life. When we repent, we remove ourselves from under the harmful consequences of the law and return to the Father's banner of grace. True repentance brings us back on the path to true freedom and deliverance from the sin that so easily entangles the human heart. The enemy has blinded the eyes of many and drawn them away from truth. Scripture tells us that “there is a way that appears to be right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12) It's time to return to the "yolk easy and burden light" life in Christ. Don't worry about your past failures and mistakes beloved; keep running into the Father's arms of mercy and love. In His truth and love you will find a hiding and resting place away from the Danger Zone. As you read this post, know that God is even now drawing your heart closer to His and working ALL things together for your good because you love Him and you ARE called according to His purposes.. (See Romans 8:28)...even if you don't feel it right now!
Instructions from the Lord to a People Whom He Loves
All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Yes, from time to time during our walk with Christ, we all encounter distractions and sin of all sorts, but it is important that we do not remain in a place of entertaining those distractions or sin. We are all on this journey with Christ to becoming perfected in His love, nature and truth. We must continue to press into His love despite the minor or major hiccups we encounter along the journey. Right now, if you may find yourself in a place of running away from God or simply wandering away from His truth and His path for your life, it’s not too late for you to change your course and return to His love and perfect will. God can supernaturally transform your life in His glory and set you back on His track, timing and speed in just the split of a second! Here are 6 simple Biblical keys that will assist you on your journey to returning back to truth:
- Choose Life. Right here in this moment, make a decision to choose life. Decide in your heart today that no matter what may come, "I desire to have all of God and all that He has in store for my life because His will is perfect and good, even if I have to wait on Him". God is so loving and kind that He has not forced us to choose Him. He has given us a freewill to choose, desiring that we choose life (Christ). He makes this clear to us in Deuteronomy 30:15 where He states, "Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster." Still, despite our freewill to choose, His love never fails to pursue us and steer us in the right way, leading us to truth. His pursuit of our hearts never ends because He knows that His love and life is the best option for us. He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love; not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance (See Psalm 145:8 & 2 Peter 3:9)Isn't our Father good? Wow, His love is amazing.... I encourage you today to chose Christ always; choose life and life more abundantly (See John 10:10).
- Repent and return quickly and wholeheartedly to the Father's heart. Do not hesitate or be afraid; God's grace is sufficient. Yes, we will make mistakes along the journey to pursuing Christ and righteousness, but the important key is that we repent and remain on His path rather than willfully change our course to pursue sin. Christ relentlessly pursues our hearts to strengthen us, so that we will overcome our sins and weaknesses. Are we responding to His pursuits, or are we running away or hiding from His love? What is it that we truly fear? Do we fear that we are unworthy, or possibly inadequate? Or do we fear our lives being completely transformed by the love of a creative God? Perhaps we fear that we are missing out on a better life, away from Christ? The enemy is excellent at painting and packaging so beautifully, the picture of a life outside of Christ. It will indeed guarantee temporary pleasures--- but in the end lead to eternal pain and death. There is no need to run away from the Father’s love. It is in our weaknesses that His strength is made perfect, so we don’t have to ever be afraid to return to Him, heart to heart. Christ died so that we may come boldly before the throne of God to petition Him and find rest in His love from striving to be perfect in our own strength. "It is through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit Who gives life that you are set free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). The Father’s grace empowers us not to remain in our sins but to overcome them. We aren’t truly living life until we are truly living and walking in the light of Christ.
- Seek the Lord with all of your heart. In Jeremiah 29:11-14, God directly reveals to His people, His deep desire for them to truly know Him, and know of His deep love for them. He passionately states “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
- Resist the devil. God always provides a way of escape for us in the midst of temptation, but many times we see the way of escape but ignore the gentle nudging of Holy Spirit. God has given us the grace to overcome every temptation and sin; this is why Christ died, to destroy the works of the devil in our lives. So do not believe the lie of the enemy that says you cannot live free from sin. Sin keeps its victims running in an unending cycle of fear, defeat and confusion. It’s time to break free from this life- draining cycle! "The death Christ died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. So you too must count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin control your mortal body so that you obey its desires. Do not present the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and present the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:10-14) Always remember to submit yourself before God. Resist the devil and he will flee.” (James 4:7) (See additional references from scripture at the end of this post)
- Pray against the spirit of condemnation. This lying spirit may attempt to creep in before or after you have repented and returned to the Father’s love, to cause you to feel guilty or unworthy of God's grace. Do not believe the lie of the enemy. Remember that you ARE the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (see 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Romans 8:1) Repeat these scriptures several times out aloud if you have to, until you believe it.
- Finally, worship God continuously, pray without ceasing and renew your mind in the word. This is the only way you will remain God conscious and dead to sin. Worshiping God also reminds us that we are not alone in this battle. Our dependency must be wholly on the Spirit of God. This takes a lot of the pressure off of ourselves to be perfect in our own strength. God promises to never leave us nor forsake us. Remember that it is not by (your) might, nor by (your) power but by the Spirit of God that you will overcome! (see Zechariah 4:6)
God wants to do a new thing in all of His children, not leaving any behind to perish. His plan exceeds all human expectations. A promise of a prosperous and peaceful life He has in store for His children who walk in the way of truth.
He has beautiful plans and a bright future in store for you, the beloved. God's love and plans for you are still the same; they will never change. His love is a constant. It's time to return to true life and light. It is time to return to life and life more abundantly in Christ. For the thief only comes to kill, steal and destroy. God has so much more in store for you and so much more for you to discover. He has so many places to take you and so many people for you to meet and reach!
Return to His love O Bride of Christ and allow Him to prune you and lead you in the right way; it’s not too late. The world has nothing to offer to the sons and daughters of God but a series counterfeits that do not benefit. It’s time to return to the Father’s never ending and unconditional source of love. It’s time to seek the Lord while He may be found.
Additional Scripture References
- “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
- "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)
- “Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the fruit you reap leads to holiness, and the outcome is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
- “But you, O man/woman of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11)
- “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, or lose heart when He rebukes you. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises everyone He receives as a son.” (Hebrews 12:4-6)
- “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
- "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)