SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
(Rev 2:4-5) …you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…
We all admire a fervent love. To see a young couple falling in love, getting engaged and then going to the altar is so exciting. And not only for them but for others to observe. But as time goes on, though, the struggles of life seem to put a damper on that first love. You see couples surviving instead of thriving. It’s sad because you remember how fond they were of each other. That’s like our love for the Lord. It usually starts out with that first love glow and then it eventually grinds down to a lifeless slow. The thrill is gone. Is there any way to get it back?
The Ephesian church was a wonderful church founded by the apostle Paul. Paul had written to them and commended them for their love. (Eph 1:15, 4:16). Now a generation later this energetic and orthodox church is seen as leaving their first love. Their fervent love had cooled. It’s a danger we all are faced with as we continue on in our faith.
It’s interesting how when we lose our first love we seem to replace that love in our hearts with love for other things. We can replace love for God with love of money (1 Tim. 6:10); love of the world (1 John 2:15); relationships (Mat. 10:37; 1 Cor. 7:34); and any other idols of the heart (1 John 5:21). Our heart was meant for love…God’s love. Anything else is just a cheap substitute for the real thing.
Jesus not only rebuked this “loveless church”, He also told them how to correct their problem of the heart. He told them to REMEMBER. They were exhorted to recall their former enthusiasm and how it used to be. This is what marriage counselors often do with couples that have drifted apart. The counselor will ask the couple to describe how they met, their courtship and engagement, and their first year of marriage together. It is common for the two to start warming up to each other as they recollect. We are to recall how it was when we first came to the Lord and how we used to love and serve Christ with a full passion.
Then Jesus said to REPENT. Repent means to change one’s thinking which translates into changing one’s behavior to that new thinking and direction taken. As we remember our first love we are to make that U-turn and go back to retrieve what we have left.
Then Jesus said to do the first works (REPEAT). We are to get back to putting the Lord first in our lives. We are to downgrade everything else to a lower priority. We are to get back to serving the Lord with that original passion and really making a difference for Christ in our world.
In Genesis 35 the Lord leads Jacob back to his first love. (Gen 35:1-3) Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” And that’s exactly what Jacob did. He went back to Bethel (“house of God”) and renewed his love for the Lord.
Does this describe you? Have you left your first love? Then you know the steps back to “Bethel.” Obey the three “R’s” and return to your original passion for Christ. Get the GLOW back and then GO for Jesus! (Eph 3:19) to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.