Revelation 2:1–7 Jesus speaks to the church at Ephesus
After speaking of many good things the believers at Ephesus had done, Jesus digs deep into their hearts, the heart of their church, and says
Revelation 2:4-5 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Loving God first and most, and then loving others next is always a challenge for us. It is a daily, hourly struggle to keep our love of God first. We are bombarded by so many other options everywhere we go. Even when we think we are doing ok, it’s possible we are deceiving ourselves. It’s really pretty easy to do! And, living consistently this way is work. Sometimes we just want to break! Is it really so bad to have some “me–time”? Following Christ is the most rewarding choice in life, but it does come with a price. It’s a life of sacrifice. Nothing we sacrifice will compare to what God has planned for us in the future!
Think of a child needing to sacrifice a bag of favorite toys in order to move in permanently to Disney World. Yes, those toys are precious and it is a difficult sacrifice but he has no idea the wonders he will know as he begins his life in a place considered a dream world! He may feel hurt by all the people in his life smiling hugely, trying to convince him it will be OK. “You’ll like this. You won’t regret it.” It seems the end of the world to the child, completely unfair. And then, after being there for years, we know there will come a time the child will need to review how amazing his life is and why he needs to appreciate it. It’s just human nature to
of even good things in our lives and to forsake our first love.
“Forsaken” is a very intentional word. It implies purposeful choices and actions, not just accidental wandering. We need to regularly keep ourselves in God’s presence and his Word, open to his Spirit working in us to stay true to him. Jesus says we need to remember and to do the things we used to do. We need to be very intentional, every day, to put God first. We can’t be forgetful and foolish or half-hearted and expect life will just stay great. Our “alignment” is not 100% and without constant tweaking of the steering wheel, we will naturally end up crashing in some way or another.
Let’s daily remember, daily ask God to search our hearts and correct our course. Daily sit in the presence of the God of the universe, so we don’t foolishly allow ourselves to wander and eventually forsake him. God does hold us responsible to remember him and all he has done for us. You know – “life just got busy,” “I was so tired,” “I just needed a break,”…these are excuses that don’t even work well here on earth! Not surprisingly, they don’t seem to impress our Creator and Lover much either.
Matthew 6:33 says, Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…
I don’t see any addition of “if you feel like it, if there’s time, if you don’t have other plans”. It’s a command. What we seek, God assures us, we will find!