“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelaiton 2:1-7)
The resurrected and glorified Christ sent a message to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2. He commended their hard work, their endurance, their intolerance of evil, their stand against false teachers, and their patient endurance of hardships. But He had one thing against them: they had abandoned their first love for Him. What is the condition of your love for your Savior and Lord?
Jesus gave His disciples a guide by which to measure their love. He said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words” (John 14:15,24, HCSB). Obedience to God’s commands is the best measure of your love for Him.
❍ If God measured your love by that standard, what would He conclude about your first love for Christ? Check one.
□ I love Him, because I faithfully obey His commands.
□ My love for Him isn’t what it needs to be, because I do not always obey His commands.
□ I don’t love Him much, because I frequently fail to obey His commands.
I’m afraid most of us would have to check b or c, and we would receive the same message from Christ that Ephesus did: “You have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4, HCSB). If that is true of you, you can respond the way Christ commanded the Ephesians: remember, repent, and obey. Consecrate yourself by returning to your first love.
❍ Take time to remember; then repent and obey. Write a journal entry for the following on separate paper and share it with others.
❍ Recall your salvation. What did Jesus save you from? How much has He forgiven you? How is your life different because of Christ? What good things has the Lord done for you?
❍ Reflect on times when you have walked more closely with God. How have you experienced His love and nearness more deeply than you do now?
❍ Think about Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, on which He clearly demonstrated His love for you.
❍ Recall the ways and times you have walked in victory over sin and in obedience to Christ. Repent and do those things again. Return to your first love for Christ.