Is Jesus My First Love?

Monday, March 6, 2017

It was a regular Rockford evening. With washcloth in hand, I glanced at the snow out the window. As I scrubbed away the grease from a pan, I listened to closely to the sermon on my phone. “What do people know you for?” was the pastor’s question. What came next was an important, soul-searching moment.

A thought popped into my head: in the past years I had been given the privilege of writing on a vast array of topics, including: abortion, Christ-esteem over self-esteem, human trafficking, true beauty, victory over fear, emotional self-control, modesty, missionary interviews, feminism versus Biblical womanhood, honoring brothers in Christ, among others.

Is Jesus Christ the defining point of your existence? the pastor passionately asked.

If my funeral was today, what would be said of my life? What would be the central obsession of my writing? Would it be said:

“You know, Cassidy had a lot of opinions, and those were the most important to her.”

“Cassidy was the most talkative person I ever met!”

“If there was a competition for the most energetic person alive, I think she’d win it!”

“Cassidy’s greatest ambition was for there to be an end to abortion!”

“You know, the one mark she specifically made on my life was her passion for missions; that was really the defining aspect of her life.”

If any of those things were said to be the one defining fact of my life, how they would fall massively short of the calling I have received, as a follower of Jesus Christ. How it would truly expose my failure.

In the book of Revelation, we find this verse:

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:1-4).

The Ephesian believers were doing some things right: they were toiling, persevering, not tolerating evil, testing false teachers to the Truth; they endured for His name’s sake and had not grown weary, and yet in all this, they had missed the central point: Jesus.

Forsaken for a secondary cause
It’s so easy for me and other Christians to attempt to justify the times we put something above Him. Many things I have been reading and hearing lately seem to have these themes in common:

“I agree that time with the Lord is important, but I don’t want to get discouraged if I accidentally miss one day. Life is so busy with senior year, you know!”

“Happiness is an innate need for the human being; Jesus wants you to be happy! Stop doing things that leave you feeling less than wonderful!”

“No, I haven’t really been in the Word in my free time lately, but I have been keeping up with my Bible class at school, so I’m doing fine.”

“I see why that’s important, but who actually has time to pursue Him so seriously?”

“Haha, the other day I was trying to spend some time in prayer, but totally got distracted by my Facebook notifications, and spent a whole hour talking with a friend instead. I think it was probably fine; God wants us to reach out to others, right?”

“Every single day when my alarm clock goes off so I can have time with Jesus, I just hit snooze. God made my body with a need to sleep, so don’t try to guilt me out of taking a few extra minutes for myself. Brain surgeons are saying that people can die if they don’t sleep, you know.”

A strange dissatisfaction comes over my soul when such statements are made. These are justifications for taking eyes off of the Prize. We reluctantly accept that all of us have busy lives and tell ourselves that if God really wanted us to be in His Word, in prayer, and ultimately know Him better, then He would just take away all of the day-to-day tasks.

As Oswald Chambers has so eloquently said: “Am I allowing my spiritual life to waste away, or am I focused, bringing everything to One central point… Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating every interest of my life? If the central point, [and] the most powerful influence of my life is… the Lord, then every aspect of my life will bear fruit for Him.”

Is Jesus Christ the cry and obsession of my heart? If not, then I am not giving my all in my relationship with Him. Leslie Ludy has said, “Until He is our all and all, we are not truly living the Gospel life.”

Am I so in love with Jesus that I am willing to change my schedule to have more time with Him? What would happen if I started passionately pursuing Him first thing in the morning, instead of hitting snooze? Can I be found praying throughout the day, continuing to consciously dwell with Him even at work and school?  When others glance into my life, are their eyes lifted to Him? Do I desperately long to know Him better?    

Just take a look at what His Word has to say on this:

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2a).

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

“It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light… But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:11b-12, 14).

“You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).

“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’... declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:13-14a).

It’s true: many of us do have busy lives, and lots of commitments and deadlines. But the things that are important to us do get done.

My friend Holly told me that she has no time to spend with the Lord, “My schedule is just insane!” she expressed. A few minutes later, she was talking with the friend across the table from her about how excited she was so excited for her weekend plans: watching Netflix for six hours.

Setting time aside to be with Him may cost you something; perhaps it will be less sleep, an adjustment to your work schedule, a class dropped, leaving a sports team, the TV turned off. Whatever it may be, I want you to know that He is worthy of your time. 1,000 years from now, will you be thinking about how glad you are that you spent seven hours browsing through the mall? Will you wish you had seen that one movie everyone thinks is all the rage?

Let’s prayerfully study our schedules and see if we are truly building each part around Jesus. He is so worthy. May our lives be marked by an obsession for Jesus that so far exceeds the love for any other person in the entire world. Don’t compromise the important ground of spiritual discipline in your life; cling to Jesus, and seek Him with every fiber of your being.

“Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you will know what His will is” (Amy Carmichael).


  1. Oh it's so easy to justify our flesh, especially when it comes to not committing time to the Lord! We are busy, and everyone's schedules are so different, but with sincere conviction I believe that He will lead us to higher ground with Him but we have to put in the effort!

  2. Cassidy I saw your blog through my niece, Emma Brainard. What wisdom you have. I have heard people say some of those excuses. I have said them. You cannot say you know Jesus unless you spend time with Him. You cannot get to know someone here on earth unless you spend time with them. All our good deeds are good and well but if we do not have a deep love for Jesus then we are a sounding gong or a sounding cymbal. Thanks for posting this blog. I needed to hear it.