Chapter 5 "Your First Love"
“But I have this against you,
that you have left your first love.”
Have you left your first love? Who is your first love? Was your wife your first love? Was it sports or a hobby? Was your job or your career first in your life? Who or what is really first in your life? “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matt. 10:37. The Scripture in Revelation says: “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Rev. 2:4.
What is our Lord saying to us? He is saying that any time we put someone or something ahead of our love for or our relationship with Him, then we are not worthy of His Love.
Seek first. You are to put Him first in your priorities, first in your day and first in your heart. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33. When, if ever, has the Lord been first in your life?
Dirty rags. Ask yourself these questions: Do the things I put first have eternal value? Will what I do today help to increase His kingdom? Am I seeking after His righteousness or trying to muster up my own righteousness? Remember, our righteousness is like dirty rags! (Is. 64:6.)
What happens when you put someone ahead of the Lord? What does He do to draw you back to Him? If you have put your wife ahead of your love for the Lord, then it was the Lord who has taken your wife from you. “Thou hast removed my acquaintances far from me; Thou hast made me an object of loathing to them. Thou has removed lover and friend far from me; my acquaintances are in darkness.” Ps. 88:8,18. And don’t make marriage restoration first in your life; you must make the Lord first in your life!
“If You Love Me…Obey”
After you put God first in your life, you must then cast down the false doctrine that says “you are saved by grace, so it’s really OKAY to sin, because we are no longer under the Law.” Let’s search the Scriptures:
Do your deeds deny Him? “They profess to know God, but their deeds deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” Titus 1:16.
Do you do what His Word says? “Why do you call Me, Lord, and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46.
Are we to continue in sin? “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” Rom. 6:1-2,15.
Faith without works is dead. “What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” Jas. 2:14,26. Good works are the “fruits” of our salvation. These are the questions we must ask ourselves:
Do my deeds deny that I follow the Lord?
Does grace give me a license to sin?
Am I, as a believer, to produce good works?
I never knew you. Many believe that you can live any way you wish and then enter into heaven once you die. Is this true? “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ” Matt. 7:22-23. The answer then is “no!”
Confess your sins. If this is the mind that you had, prior to learning these Scriptures, do as Scripture says: “Therefore, confess your sins one to another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.” Jas. 5:16
Obedience to His Word
“Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square. At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance to the gate in the city, she utters her sayings, how long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity. And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, and fools hate knowledge. Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.
“Because I called and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel, and did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes on like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you.
“Then they will call on me but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me, because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them. But he who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil.” Prov. 1:20-33. Seek wisdom!
Obedience comes from the heart. “…you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.” Rom. 6:17. And again, “for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1Sam 16:7.
Obedience needs testing. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial which comes upon you for your testing.” 1Pet. 4:12. Obedience purifies your soul. “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls….” 1Pet. 1:22.
Obedience gives testimony of who your Father is. “Obey My voice and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way in which I command you, that it may be well with you. Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.” Jer. 7:23-24.
Your disobedience actually praises the wicked. “Those who forsake the law PRAISE the wicked, but those who keep the law strive with them.” Prov. 28:4. The prayers of the disobedient go unheard. “He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Prov. 28:9.
Our Example of Obedience Is Jesus
He was obedient even unto death. “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Phil. 2:5-11. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Heb. 5:7-10. Could it be said of you that you, too, are learning obedience through the sufferings that you are experiencing?
He was obedient and submissive to His authority. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but Thou wilt. My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done.” Matt. 26:39, 42.
Are you in submission to your authority? “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” 1Cor. 11:3. If you are like many Christian men, you are quick to point out your wife’s lack of submissiveness to you. But are you setting a good example of submissiveness to your authority, which is Christ? Do you follow and seek Him? Do you follow after His commands in tithing, leading your family spiritually and in the way you treat (or treated) your wife (as the weaker vessel, in an understanding way)?
The secret to success. “All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him.” Ps. 25:10-15. The only way to treat your wife with the lovingkindness due her is to fear the Lord. This is the secret that so few men know. For if a man has a true and genuine fear of God, then he is a true follower of the Word and of Christ.
Self-condemned. Unfortunately, most men dispute or argue the true meaning of the Scriptures -- missing the blessings of a life wholly devoted to the Lord. “But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.” Titus 3:9-11.
Turn aside to myths. Instead of searching for the truth, many want others to agree with their wrong ideas or decisions: “But wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn aside to myths.” 2Tim. 4:3-4.
Obedience to His Word. “Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you.” Ps. 32:9. If you don’t obey His commandments in your daily pursuits and in your dealings with your wife, He will discipline you. “The Lord has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death. I shall not die but live, and tell of the works of the Lord.” Ps. 118:18,17. Don’t waste your time looking at your wife’s faults and blaming her for your marriage troubles, it is YOU He is disciplining, by turning your wife’s heart away from you. This is the reason for her indifference to you.
God is faithful to His Word. “If his sons forsake My law, and do not walk in My judgments, If they violate My statutes, and do not keep My commandments, then I will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes.” Ps. 89:30-34. If you continue in rebellion to God’s Word or your authority, Jesus Christ, who was meek and lowly, then God will continue to punish you.
Keep your Eyes Focused on the Lord
Whom do you want to please? You are to try and please the Lord, rather than your wife or anyone else in your life. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Prov. 16:7. “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Prov. 31:3.
The truth is, when you do what is right by the Lord’s standards, you will see your wife’s heart turning back to you. However, if don’t begin to notice a more peaceful atmosphere when conversing with your wife, then you are either still preoccupied and obsessed with her, or you are harboring a self-righteous spirit.
Why not try and please my wife? That was man’s first mistake. Let’s look at some scriptural facts. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” Gen. 3:6. Why would Adam eat the fruit when he knew it was wrong?
Man sinned knowingly. It's important to note that the woman was not created until Gen. 2:22, five verses later. We never see God commanding Eve directly. The point is that Eve was deceived. Adam knowingly sinned.
Woman was created for man. God gave Adam dominion over all living things in the garden, including Eve. Eve was created for Adam, not the other way around. “…for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” 1Cor. 11:9. “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ ” Gen. 2:18.
Adam never stopped Eve, though he was with her. “…and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” Gen. 3:6. Why? Why did he also eat it? Is it possible that Adam was trying to please his wife?
Why didn't he stop her? Did he just want to let her do what she wanted even though in his heart he knew it was a mistake? What about you? Do you do things just to please your wife, not even considering what God thinks about it? Have you many times let your wife (or your children) do things that in your heart you knew was a mistake? The consequences may be that now she is in deep sin and out from under your protection and authority.
However, do not allow this truth to make you puffed up as one who is superior so that an attitude of control and aggressiveness should take over. This insight should bring you to a place of humility as you reflect upon how you have failed to lead and protect your wife and now find yourself in the situation you are in today.
What does Adam do when things go wrong? When confronted by God after he sinned, what does Adam do? “And the man said, ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’ ” Gen. 3:12. He blames Eve. It was her fault! The bottom line is that he also blames God! Well, there is no doubt Eve was wrong to eat the fruit. But why isn’t she blamed for the fall of man if she ate it first and then gave it to Adam? Why is sin not passed down through her?
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…” Rom. 5:12. In the same way it was through YOUR sin, that sin entered your house. Was it your sin of anger? Was it your sin of neglect? Or was it your sin of self-indulgence? If you had been the proper husband, spiritual leader, and man of lovingkindness you should have been, do you think you would you be in the position you are in today?
Eve was deceived, but Adam knew. Adam was ultimately responsible and accountable before God for the sin committed, not Eve. “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it….’ ” Gen. 3:17. As men, we are the ones who are ultimately responsible for our marriages and families.
It doesn’t matter what your wife is doing now or what she has done in the past; you must take responsibility. It is crucial that you embrace this mindset and turn your eyes of blame totally inward; for only then will you begin to become a godly man and regain your wife’s love and trust.
You are your wife’s protector. Men, God put us over our wives for their protection, not so we can control, intimidate, or use them for our pleasure! The woman was deceived; therefore, God knew she was susceptible to Satan’s deceptive schemes. Therefore, He assigned man to rule over her. “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bring forth children; [pain in childbirth was her curse] Yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ ” Gen. 3:16. Also, as we can see, woman’s punishment was not that she would bear children; it was that she would have pain when they were brought forth.
Nor was her curse to have her husband rule over her as the feminists would have us to believe. However, when a husband does not demonstrate a Christ-like love for his wife or he allows sin to get a stronghold in his life, then he can become like a curse to his wife.
“And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” 1Tim. 2:14. Have you neglected to protect your wife? Have you left her totally open to deception due to your ill treatment of her? If so, repent!
But don’t make the mistake of telling her that she is being deceived. When a person really is deceived they can no longer discern right from wrong. Confronting her will only drive her farther away from you and from God. At this point, your time would be best spent finding out how to become a godly man and husband. Much can be learned by reading the manual for men, A Wise Man Builds Upon A Rock, available for free to read on our website, or to order a copy. Then use prayer to protect your wife and to change the situation she is in.
Women in the church. “Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.” 1Cor. 14:34-35. Why do churches and Christian seminars seem to attract more women than men? It is primarily because women have a deep craving for spiritual things and their husbands are not meeting their obligation to help fulfill this need.
Aren't we as men supposed to be the leaders? If men are missing from the church and from the spiritual things pertaining to the family, then are we really leading our families?
Are you capable of answering your wife’s spiritual questions? Maybe your wife is not asking you any questions because of the poor example you have set as a Christian leader. Are you as well versed in the Bible as your wife is? Have you taken the same amount of time seeking the things of God as you have in seeking other things that interest you?
Captivating weak women. “For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2Tim. 3:6. Certainly, there are things your wife needs to learn from another – an older woman, such as the things found in the book of Titus – but what have you taught her by your example?
Weak women? Are you aware that in God’s Word it says in 1Pet. 3:7, “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman….” Have you treated your wife as a weaker vessel or have you treated her with harshness and hardheartedness? God’s Word says that we as men are to live with our wives differently, in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman. Have you taken the time to really listen to your wife share her thoughts and concerns from her heart? Or has she stopped opening up her heart to you because what she has said has fallen on a deaf ear? An ear so embittered that no kindness, sympathy or understanding would be the response to her deep and wounded cry?
Honor her as a fellow heir. Have you treated your wife as a lower class citizen in the Kingdom of God? Have you acted arrogantly as the leader of your home? Then you need to read the entire verse that we have been referring to. “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1Pet. 3:7. God is so adamant about how a husband is to treat his wife that he assigns a punishment for a husband who fails to treat his wife appropriately -- your prayers will be hindered. Have your prayers recently been answered? If not, then it is time to take a serious look at your relationship with your wife.
The fact is, the fate of your entire household rests on you. Do not attempt to take the speck out of your wife’s eye and concentrate on her shortcomings. If you were a patient, kind and understanding husband like you should be with your wife, she would turn back to you in an instant. God created her with a desire for you! It says in Gen. 3:16, God speaking to the wife, “…your desire shall be for your husband…” Your wife was created with a longing to be with you. However, if she is treated harshly instead of in “an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman” then you will see her heart’s desire for you die; making her vulnerable to the affections of another.
It’s time to pray Psalm 51 aloud:
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou will not despise.”
May God be with you as you strive to be more like Christ!
Personal commitment: to put the Lord first in my life. “Based on what I have learned in Scripture, I commit to do everything as unto the Lord. I will show the Lord my commitment to Him and my obedience to His Word by submitting to those who are in authority over me, especially my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by following His example. I will treat my wife as a weaker vessel, in an understanding way, since she is a woman, and grant her honor as a fellow heir, rather than a second class citizen, so that my prayers will no longer be hindered.”