Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
(Song of Songs 2:3 ESV)
I know your deeds, your tireless labor, and your patient endurance. I know you do not tolerate those who do evil. Furthermore, you have diligently tested those who claim to be emissaries, and you have found that they are not true witnesses. You have correctly found them to be false. I know you are patiently enduring and holding firm on behalf of My name. You have not become faint.
However, I have this against you: you have abandoned your first love. Do you remember what it was like before you fell? It’s time to rethink and change your ways; go back to how you first acted. (Revelation 2:2-5 The Voice)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7 The Message)
When I become so busy that I don’t have time to revel in God’s love, I have nothing left to give. Without knowing deeply how much he loves me and wants to spend time with me I become a performance-oriented, fear-based person who spews dire predictions instead of faith, cynical expectations in place of hope, condemnation rather than love. I hear God speaking about a better way. I hear him inviting me to return and lay my head against Jesus’ chest, until I can hear his heart beating for me. Everything good thing flows from there.