Scripture: “I know your works, your toil, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil but have tested those who call themselves apostles (and are not) and found them to be false.
I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
But I have this against you: (that) you have abandoned the love you had at first.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen, repent, and do the works you did at first.” Rev 2:2-5a
Observation: The church at Ephesus: patient, enduring, discerning, but…there is a significant observation of losing their First Love. Am I like that?
Analysis: Losing my First Love: I kind of know what that is like.
In me it is a shadowed memory, something numbing or a fleeting feeling—a sensation I remember but maybe only vaguely. Caught up with current doings, that memory of First Love can grow fainter with time.
Just like it is imperative to keep the romance with my wife alive, it is important to keep my love with the Savior fresh as well.
Maturity in Christ is not growth in knowledge that supplants emotion for Christ. It is not “calming down”, stoicism, so-called “godliness” that majors in decorum and stateliness—it still is the fire in my eyes, wide open and passionate. Responsibility doesn’t deaden the fire in my eyes, the fire stokes the flame, so I am responsible by being passionate about (and for) the Cross.
Is it demonstrative? Yes, it can be—get my hands up, sing loud and firm, clap, and stop reading in monotone. But all of that comes from the “burn”, fanning that glowing ember in my heart that cannot be quenched.
So how am I aware that I am letting that ember die down? I almost get tired of saying this because I really don’t want it to become a cliché’ in my life: I let the Gospel be a lesser part of my mind, memory, and mediation—I start to forget the Gospel in favor of other things.
I am convinced that everything that I learn about the Bible, the stories, doctrine, Reformed Theology, etc. is all a part of the Jewel that is the Gospel. I cannot separate any individual precept or principle as something that isn’t part of the Gospel.
The church at Ephesus was prophesized that they got their “works” right—but at the expense of abandoning their First Love. I remember Matt 7:22 where Jesus encountered a bunch of folks who tried to plead their case by listing out their works done in the Name.
Jesus’ response? “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Begone from me you workers of lawlessness.’”
I don’t want that to be me.
Prayer: Lord, such a treacherous balance it seems. Do the works you have decreed and potentially forget my First Love. Remember my First Love and forget to do the works–such a Mary and Martha moment.
How can I serve you in both? Help me to understand. Until then, convict my heart and allow and help me to repent and move forward in You. AMEN.