Today, Tuesday February 15
Have You Left Your First Love? Revelation 2:4 “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
Do you remember the day that you got saved? Boy, I sure do! It was on February 21, 1971, at Dr. Harold Rawling’s house on Landmark Baptist Temple property at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. As soon as I prayed a prayer of repentance and by faith accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, a miraculous change took place. Immediately the chains of sin fell off of me. The burden of my guilt was lifted off my shoulders. The Light of God flooded my soul and for the first time in my life I really felt like I could see! And I knew that I was forgiven for all my sins! I’ll never forget it! I experienced my “first love” for the Lord!
The church of Ephesus outwardly was a great church! It was a church with member that were serving and sacrificing. They were patient and separated and willing to suffer “for His name’s sake”! No matter, how you examine this congregation, you conclude that it is just about perfect. However, the One among the lampstands saw into their hearts, and He had a different diagnosis from ours. The believers had become careless!
This busy, separated, sacrificing church really suffered from "heart trouble"—they had abandoned their first love! They displayed "works ... labor... and patience" (Rev. 2:2), but these qualities were not motivated by a love for Christ. Take time to compare 1 Thessalonians 1:3—"work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope.") What we do for the Lord is important, but so is why we do it!
What is "first love"? I believe it includes several things! For sure it includes the devotion to Christ that so often characterizes the new believer: fervent, personal, uninhibited, excited, and openly displayed. It is the "honeymoon love" of the husband and wife (Jer. 2:1-2). While it is true that mature married love deepens and grows richer, it is also true that it should never lose the excitement and wonder of those "honeymoon days." When a husband and wife begin to take each other for granted, and life becomes routine, then the marriage is in danger.
But I also believe “losing your first love” means that you have lost your dependency on the Lord. We could still be reading our Bibles, praying, going to church and serving in ministry but we are just going through the routines. After a while we become “professional Christians”. When I first got saved I was so afraid that I would go back into my old sins and habits. When I memorized scripture, studied my Bible, and prayed I did it with a heartfelt dependency on the Lord. In a sense I was scared and I was desperate for the Lord to speak to me and help me to live for Him and serve Him. “Lord help me” was my constant cry.
If we are not careful, after a while we get pretty good at living the Christian life and serving the Lord like the church at Ephesus. Just think of it: it is possible to serve, sacrifice, and suffer "for My name's sake" and yet not really love Jesus Christ! The Ephesian believers were so busy maintaining their separation that they were neglecting adoration. Labor is no substitute for love; neither is purity a substitute for passion. The church must have both if it is to please Him.
By reading Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, you discover at least twenty references to love. You also discover that Paul emphasized the believer's exalted position "in Christ... in the heavenly places." But the Ephesian church had fallen and was not living up to its heavenly position in Christ (Revelation 2:5). It is only as we passionately and fervently love Christ that we can serve Him faithfully. Our love for Him must be pure (Eph. 6:24).
Have you left your first love?