How is your first love?
“How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.”
— John Newton, “Amazing Grace”
Do I love Jesus more right now than on the day I first believed?
Imagine if your spouse came home and said, “I don’t love you anymore. Don’t worry—nothing’s going to change. I’ll still go to work, pay my share of the bills, still live with you, eat with you and sleep with you. I’ll still help parent the kids. I just don’t love you anymore.” Would this be good enough for you?
Imagine a believer saying: “Jesus, I don’t love you like I used to. Don’t worry. I’ll still go to church. I’ll still give money. I’ll still serve where I can. I will even tell others about you. I just don’t love you like I used to.”
But in reality, this can actually become our walk with the Lord.
In the book of Revelation, the Lord dictated a letter to the apostle John for the church at Ephesus. It begins: “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” (Revelation 2:2-3).
This sounds really good, doesn’t it? The Lord is aware of all the good things they’re doing in His name. But Jesus didn’t stop there. He continues: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4).
The church at Ephesus was going through the motions. But Jesus called on them to return to their first love—this is what He desires!
How do you do it? He gives the Ephesians a simple three-step plan to follow: Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first (Revelation 2:5).
Remember. Look back and see from where you’ve fallen. You loved the Lord. You loved His Word. You loved prayer. You loved fellowship. You had fellowship with Him. You’ve fallen—or, in other words, you’re in a spiritual decline. Do you remember?
Repent. The word “repent” means to change your thinking, or to have a change of heart. In this instance, the Lord is calling on those whose love for Him has grown cold to rethink, to change their attitude toward Him—to exchange apathy for renewed affection.
Repeat. Jesus closed the three-step admonition by encouraging the Ephesian believers to go back and “do the things they did at first.” Those early experiences of thirsting for the Lord, for truth, for knowledge, for His presence—go back! Pray, study, fellowship, and serve out of a revitalized love. “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
My prayer this week—Lord, I realize my love for you hasn’t always been as deep and abiding as it was when I first believed. It is my desire to love you more. Would you help me to experience my relationship with you anew? Would you be near?