The following post is the first in a series focusing on Revelation 2-3, the letters to the 7 churches. I have written these posts to supplement the Sunday School class I am teaching on the same topic, however they will be helpful to you independent of the class as well. Enjoy!
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love that you had at first.” -Revelation 2:4
Do you remember your first love? I’m not talking about your first crush. I’m not even talking about a high school or college fling, but the first person that you realized you could spend the rest of your life with. I remember mine. She’s not difficult to forget because I’m still married to her!
When Jesus said to the church in Ephesus that she had abandoned her first love, he was talking to a church that really had it all together. The preceding three verses praise this church for doing right. They hated false doctrine and worked tirelessly to ensure that the right things were being taught and then carried out. They, by all appearances, had it all together.
But Jesus was painfully aware of the fact that they had abandoned their first love. Why? Because He was that first love. One commentator describes the situation in this way:
“Two New England girls worked in a textile factory. Mary went away on a visit of several months. Returning, and meeting her friend on the street, she asked her ‘Maggie, are you working at the same old factory?’ ‘I’m not working at all,’ bursts out Maggie: ‘I’m married!’
Doubtless such a one was busier with her housework than ever she had been at the factory! But she toiled unconscious of the work as such – it was for him. She parted from him with an embrace as he went to work in the morning, and she prepared the evening meal ever looking out the door or window for his coming. As he neared the home, she went to meet him. All her labor was a mere circumstance, swallowed up in her devotion to her husband.
But days, weeks, months pass and she becomes occupied with the details of her housekeeping, of her own life. She prepares just as good meals, keeps the house in as good, perhaps even better, order; but she has gradually changed her habit of watching for her husband at night, or going eagerly to meet him. She calls ‘Goodbye’ from somewhere upstairs in the morning, instead of holding him fast every moment she can.”
When we serve someone we do it for one of two reasons. We either do it out of obligation, simply because we know we have to, or we do it out of love and devotion. When we first meet Jesus, we are eager to serve Him every moment because we love him. We feel no obligation, but rather honor and joy in being able to serve the Savior of our souls. As we progress in our walk, however, our love can grow cold. We still know Jesus, and love him to an extent, but the things we do are done out of obligation. We look put together from the outside, but in reality our love has grown cold.
Has your love for Jesus grown cold? Are you simply going through the motions out of a sense of obligation. Let me tell you that your obedience will soon fall to the wayside if you are acting only out of obligation. The only way to live a truly joyful life, the kind of life that Jesus wants for you, is to do it out of immense love for your Creator.
So what if your love for Him has grown cold?
“Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen…” – Revelation 2:5
That’s the solution in a nutshell. There is more instruction that follows, but it all starts here. Do you want to reignite your passion for the Lover of your soul? Remember where you were before you knew Him and what your love for Him looked like at that moment you came to know Him. Reflect on how far He has brought you. There is simply no way that you can understand the great rescue operation that He did in your life and not fall madly in love with Him. After all, that is why you so easily served Him in the beginning…that is from where you have fallen. Remember, friend, the time when all your labor was a mere circumstance, swallowed up in your devotion to the Bridegroom.
You were dead in your trespasses, “but God…” – Ephesians 2:4
So how about it? What is your “But God” testimony?