In Revelation 2:1-5, Jesus writes to the church at Ephesus and says “… I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance … and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
This scripture speaks of a condition into which many of today’s churches have fallen – the members are busily working for the Lord, but have lost their “first love” relationship with Him. Those who have lost their first love are often the best workers in the church. Ministry is important, and God won’t forget our works on behalf of the Gospel (Hebrews 6:10) But have we forgotten our first love?
Ask yourself, “Am I serving the Lord out of the love flowing from my heart to Him? Or am I only doing a ‘church job’ because it’s expected of me and I’m good at it?” Do you still plead with Christ, “Here I am, Lord send me!”?
When Peter began to follow Jesus from “afar off,” it wasn’t long before he began to deny Him. (Matt. 26:58, 70). When your love for the Lord begins to lag, and you begin to follow “afar off,” it won’t be long before some type of deception will move into your life. God wants to draw us all back to our first love relationship with Him. We need to stay close enough to Him to be able to hear His voice.
You are the only one who determines how closely you’re going to walk with the Lord. “… you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart. And I will be found by you, declares the Lord …” (Jeremiah 29:12-14). It isn’t up to God to seek you. You are the one who has to take the initiative.
Where can you go to recapture that first love? Remember the account of 12-year-old Jesus lost in the Temple? When Mary finally found Him, Jesus said “I wasn’t lost, I was right here in the Temple all the time.” (Luke 2:43-49). Christ wasn’t lost. If there was a time that you loved Him and knew Him, but now feel far from Him, Christ isn’t lost, you are. Like Mary, go back where you left Him — the point where you got off track and lost His presence — and find Him again.
Are we too busy to be blessed? Too caught up with working for the Lord to take time to stand in the wonder of His presence. Have we forgotten that the rhythm of discipleship provides for times to “come apart and rest awhile” and continually renew our relationship with Christ? To keep His presence in our midst and His anointing flowing among us, all the members of the church need to find and keep that closeness and freshness of our first love for Him.
The Rev. Anne Barber, pastor of My Father’s House Church, 7215 U.S. 301 N. Ellenton. can be reached at 776-9016 or by visiting www.myfathershouseinc.com.