There’s an initial level of unbelief, I think, that’s common to everyone who has never before believed in God or His Son or His Spirit.
It is conquered when that person experiences, either in one moment or over a period of time, a sense of awe and wonder at the loving, perfect nature of God himself displayed in this world.
Those encounters may take place while reading scripture … witnessing an incredible display of beauty in nature … experiencing a powerful and motivating testimony … being the beneficiary of a generous act of mercy … even – yes, I’ll say it – seeing a miracle.
Or thousands of other unique moments which lift and transform us, instantaneously or gradually, into believers. As a result, we live lives that reflect His perfect love; we speak of it, we show it, we center everything we do around it.
There’s another level of unbelief, though, which troubles me deeply – because I know it too well.
It’s that level we sink into when the power of those moments fade in our memories, and we have accepted them as true, and they become a part of the everyday; the mundane; the quotidian.
We still believe, but the fervor has waned like the moon as it closes each 28-day orbit.
Life goes back to “normal.” From time to time, a small hint of that memory replays … or another tiny moment perks our faith.
But mostly, we just live out our lives on this new level of unbelief. We work hard; we even work hard at activities at church. Yet the world keeps going on as if nothing extraordinary has happened. God is still good, but life can still stink.
We defend the faith … but something is missing. Maybe we even find some hollow satisfaction in discussing faith with others; arguing our views over theirs. Perhaps we even gain a sense of achievement in denouncing others whose faith is different, or who have no faith at all.
And this is the message of the One who walks among the golden lampstands for the angels and ministers of the Church of Faded Faith:
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. ~ Revelation 2:2-5
Therein – I believe – lies the secret of recapturing the forsaken first love:
Repent and do the things you did at first.
Do you miss the passion with which your journey of faith began? Do you miss the warmth in your heart at feeling God’s approving smile? Do you long to leave everyday behind and make every day an extraordinary experience for others as well as yourself?
Speak of His love. Show His love. Center everything you do around His love.
Just do it.