When writing to the angel of the church in Ephesus, Jesus instructed John to highlight some very specific things.
Some were things He honored them for. These things consisted of…
…their hard work and perseverance for the sake of the gospel
…their unwillingness to tolerate evil people and their willingness to put leaders to the test
…their undergoing of persecutions for His name and their not being discouraged
(see Revelation 2:2-3)
That’s an amazing list.
To be honest, there aren’t many people that could check such boxes when it comes to their walk with the Lord.
Outwardly, it would appear that they are doing everything right.
It would seem that they are alive in their faith and living the Christian life.
But in spite of their list of accomplishments, Jesus points out to them the one thing He sees as a fatal flaw… the absence of something that far outweighs all of their Christian feats.
“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Revelation 2:4
This particular statement provokes this particular question: What is first love?
When a lawyer asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest in the Law, Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with every fiber of our being (see Matthew 22:35-38).
If this commandment is the first and greatest, that means that God has priorities.
It also means that He is to be our everything, the One we love more than anyone or anything else.
We were created for this primary purpose.
Whenever we love something more than Him, we wind up frustrated.
I’m willing to bet all of life’s issues stem from loving something more than Him.
When we do, we violate our original design.
Whatever we love most we serve the most.
This is why Jesus said we cannot serve two masters.
We will either hate the one and love the other, or we will be devoted to one and despise the other (see Matthew 6:24).
To leave first love is to leave the place of loving God most.
It’s to remove God from the throne of our heart with something or someone else.
Sadly, as evidenced by the church at Ephesus, we can do Christian things without loving God first.
And as evidenced by Jesus’ statement, God cares more about our burning heart than our right life.
This is why Jesus tells the church, “…remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5).
When you and I lose ‘first love,’ we lose everything.
Leaving our first love isn’t a stumble. It’s a great fall.
What I love most determines my priorities.
It shapes my life.
All that I do passes through the eye of that needle.
When I love God most, my entire life reorients itself to this one thing.
My motives become purified by it.
My decisions are made in light of it.
And my thoughts gravitate toward it.
In my previous blog, I talked about the idea of getting ready for the Lord’s return.
This is one of the ways we do.
We repent and we surrender our life to the Lord again and ask Him to take His rightful place.
We acknowledge that there are things we’ve allowed ourselves to love more than Him.
We lay whatever our Isaac is on that altar and along with it, our very heart.
And we begin to do the deeds we did at first.
Do you remember what it was like when God became real to you?
Do you remember when His love touched your heart?
What did you do?
I’ll tell you what you did… all you wanted to do was be with Him… all you could think about was Him… all you could talk about was Him… all you wanted to do was read the bible… all you wanted to do was worship.
Do it again.
Fall in love with Him all over again.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries
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