“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far 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 2:4-5
In spite of all the good Jesus commended the Church of Ephesus for doing, He warned them that they had “left” (KJV) their first love. What a call this is for us to examine our condition and how we might be serving God without Him or His love. Have you ever stepped out in faith to serve God motivated by your love for Him and others, but as time went on, pride or complaining began to creep in? Or have you ever become so caught up in the tasks of life and Christian service that you have little or no time to spend with God, the source of love and power to serve? Even while serving Him our hearts can be far away.
It’s like a child playing in the surf that gets so caught up splashing in the waves that they forget to keep their eyes on their parent on the beach. The tide pushes them further and further away from where they began, and when they finally look up, they cannot see their parent at all because they have drifted so far down the shore. It wasn’t what they were doing but where they were looking that was the problem. Have we in our service and doing good lost sight of Jesus? In our busyness do we even notice how far we’ve moved away? The tides of life and the world work to push us further away from Jesus. But God has given us the power of His Word, His Holy Spirit and prayer to keep bringing us back.
Jesus said that if they did not repent and return to that first love, He would remove their lampstand, which we are told in Revelation 1:20 is their church. Many Christians lament and ponder the loss of church membership. Research companies conduct studies about it, and some in the church consider which marketing plan or form of entertainment will stop the exodus and bring them back. But perhaps the answer is right here in Scripture–some of us have left our first love. What needs to change in our lives to return to the things we did at first, to reunite with our first love? Jesus tells us to look up from the waves of life and Christian service to see how far we’ve moved away from Him and to come running back.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you that your Word speaks to Christians as much today as it did when it was written many years ago. Thank you for the wisdom and direction it gives your people to build up your Church. Teach us how to love you first above all else, and to love others as ourselves. Father, we don’t want to forsake you, so examine our hearts, reveal what is pulling us away, and where we are serving out of something other than your love. May we desire to be in your presence and protect that time with you. Help us by the power of your Holy Spirit to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we don’t drift away. In the name of the One who knows our hearts, walks among the churches, and is the source of perfect love, Jesus Christ. Amen!