Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, what does the lack of absence bring?  What does togetherness bring?  What is the result of spending lots and lots of time together?  Ponder that thought for a moment.

Jesus said, “You have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”  Rev. 2:4-5

For the last 6 ½ weeks, I have been in Florida.  The normal reaction to that statement is “you lucky dog”, especially during the winter months.  However, because of the urgency of a new job, I left my family behind for 51 days.  It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  Does absence make the heart grow fonder?  You better believe it does.  It’s all the small things that I had grown complacent toward that I miss the most.  Does my family permeate my thoughts all day long?  You know it. 

When Jesus chastises the church in Ephesus, He is telling them that they have grown complacent in their love and affection toward Him.  They are still zealous toward for the big picture items, but their relationship with Him is not as it was.  It is so easy to grow complacent in the things of God as well as a love for a spouse, children and family...until the threat of removal shakes you to your very core. 

God is reminding them that the heart, as it is prone to growing fonder in the absence of things, so the heart grows complacent in the abundance of things.  This is not a new problem, but an age old problem, especially for the children of God.  I think back to the time of the Judges when there was a continual cycle of serving God, abandoning God.  When they served Him, God gave them rest from their enemies and blessed their work of their hands.  Typically within 70 years they had totally forgotten WHO gave them rest, WHO was blessing their crops and they had prostituted themselves with the gods of the land.  As a result, God took from them their rest, their prosperity until “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.  They would cry out to God, they would repent, they pray for mercy, rest and blessing.  God would see their humble spirit and grant their petitions.  This cycle happened over and over and over. 

The same is true in our lives.  We take for granted the things in our life until they are gone or the threat of their removal.  For example, it’s the shock of an affair that rocks our world, bringing us back to reality.   It’s the sudden emergency that sends a loved one to the hospital that breaks apart our complacency as we count the minutes we might have with left with the one we adore. 

I could go on, but you get the point.  Many of us will live with regret if we don’t take action now to correct the complacency in our lives toward the ones we love...especially our Lord and Saviour.  Jesus was trying to “wake up” the Ephesian Church in an effort to restore a beautiful love relationship between the groom and His bride.

Repent and remember the love you have abandoned.  Quickly, don’t delay, restore the relationship you once had.  Start with Christ, then to your spouse, then your children, then to others God has brought to mind. 
    Remember.  Complacency is something you will always have to fight against.  Learn to appreciate what you have. 
  • Write a journal and read it over often to remember what being in love is like.  
  • Never stop loving your Lord, never stop romancing your wife, never stop pouring love into your children.  
  • Find something that reminds you of the early days.  Maybe it’s a picture of you shortly after salvation that you can keep in your Bible.  Maybe it’s a picture of you and your wife while you were still dating.  Find of picture of one of your favorite memories with your kids and keep that photo as your computer’s background.  But beware, don’t get used to those photos or they will do you no good.  Remember!

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