A tap at the study door announced a timid and frightened young couple. Their marriage was "coming apart" — or so they thought — and since I had "performed their ceremony," they had come to me for help.
The timid approach fooled me. What should have been an easy "patch-up" job grew more complicated as we discussed the details. Recalling each incident of friction led to charges of blame, efforts to justify, defense of pride. The situation was growing steadily worse when, in desperation, I tried the magic of "first love."
"Please arise, and stand here," I requested, indicating the exact spot where they had made their vows. Picking up my Bible, I stepped into place before them. "And now, will you join right hands." Then, as they grew silent with their memories, I reminded them of the pledges they had made "before God and to one-another" on that eventful day some months earlier.
Before my little speech was finished — maybe I was over-playing my part in the drama they interrupted to thank me, and hurried out of the room, hand in hand. Perhaps they had heard little of what I said, but they recalled their own hopes and determinations of first love, and that was enough.
The Hebrew writer urged faithfulness by saying, "Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions" (Hebrews 10:32). When we "leave our first love," (Revelation 2:4ff) it must be restored if our union with Christ is to survive.
When brethren "go a-gadding" after strange doctrines, human institutions, the social gospel, etc., they have neglected their first love — their espousal to Christ. (II Corinthians 11:1-3) They profit little by tongue-lashings, ridicule, or even sound high-powered argumentation — especially if they are so self-willed as to be no longer interested in the Bible pattern. Unless their love for and determination to serve Jesus Christ can be rekindled, all else is vain.
Please join hands — with the Lord!