How often we say we love God, yet deny it by our actions. It’s possible to do good things for God, to be busy for God, and lose our love for him.
This is what happened to the Ephesian church. In Revelation 2, Jesus spoke to the Ephesian church and said…
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 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.”
What a wonderful church, but they had a huge problem….they didn’t love Jesus very much at all. Somehow in the midst of all their godly busyness and all their standing for truth, somehow, somewhere along the way, they had left Christ out of their church. Is that possible?
There’s a great quote by Michael Horton – “We can lose Christ by distraction as easily as denial. I think that’s what happened in Ephesus. They got distracted away from Jesus and in the process they lost him.
Busyness is not a substitute for intimacy with Jesus.
Notice what the Ephesian church did. By all outside appearance this was an awesome church. Jesus praises them for their good works. There’s a lot to love about this church. You and I probably would have been members.
•Good deeds. Hard work. Perseverance.
•They stood against evil and wickedness. In other words, they were morally upright.
•They stood for an accuracy of teaching and ministry in the church.
•They endured hardship and were faithful. They have not grown weary in ministry.
It’s a great list of accomplishments but something was lacking. Something critical was lacking.
It’s here that you and I need to examine our own hearts. You see, the decisions we make every day either reinforce or erode our love for Jesus. if we replace an intimate daily nurturing relationship with Jesus with busy activity, we run the risk of losing our first love.
What does our first love for Jesus look like?
Our love for Jesus must be exclusive - If you are really in love with someone, you love that person exclusively. It’s the same with Jesus. This Ephesian church used to have this kind of love. But they lost it. Their love for Jesus used to be passionate. They had a singular focus. Jesus was everything to them.
Our love for Jesus is expectant – When Jesus is your first love you live with a constant expectancy. You are excited. You look forward to what God will do next. You know God is working in your life. You know he is working through your life. You are filled with hope.
Our love for Jesus is expensive – When you love someone it will cost you something. Sometimes it costs you a lot. When Jesus is our first love it is costly. I’m not just talking about money. When Jesus is your first love it will cost you your allegiance; it will cost you your energy; it will cost your time and your talents, skills, and abilities. But you give it willingly because you love Him!
Today’s Challenge: Ephesians 2 says the way to return to making Jesus our first love is to remember, repent, and return.
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