Wednesday, October 28, 2009

God had a Plan,
Return to Your First Love

The prophetic word of the Lord given to John for the church of Ephesus, as recorded in Revelations, chapter two, was in regard to the fact that they had left their first love. As a church, they had many things going for them – they toiled and persevered and didn’t tolerate false apostles; they had perseverance and endurance for the sake of the name of Jesus, and they were not growing weary. Yet, they had allowed their first love to grow cold. Motivation is everything. Were they just going through the motions, yet their heart was not in it?

Revelations 2:1-5 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
2'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
3and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary.
4'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
5'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent.

Obviously these words in Revelations were not written only for the sake of the ancient church at Ephesus – they were intended just as much for us, and perhaps in these last days, even more so. When Jesus was talking to the disciples about what would occur before the end and His return, He told them that the love of most would grow cold.

Matthew 24:12 "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.

As a solution to the problem with the church in Ephesus, why did the Lord tell them to “do the deeds you did at first”? Why not just say, “Return to your first love,” and leave it at that? Here is an analogy. Imagine a couple being in marriage counseling because they no longer feel as though they are in love, and they just don’t feel like they have anything in common. Wanting to do the right thing, rather than end the marriage they have decided to try counseling.

Now imagine the marriage counselor instructing them to “do the things they did” when they were newly in love. These might include such things as dating, holding hands, going for long walks, talking everything over together, writing letters and making phone calls when apart – all because they were in love and all these things came naturally to them because of those feelings they had for one another. The couple might resist the counsel at first, saying, “But we did those things because we sincerely wanted to, because of our feelings of love for each other.”

The wise counselor would reply, “Do those same things again, even if you don’t feel like it so much right now – and as you do, you will find that the feelings of love you had will return over time.”

I don’t know about you, but when I first got saved, I spent a lot of time in prayer – talking to the Lord, seeking His will, trying to find out everything I could about Him – which meant reading the bible a lot and staying actively involved in the fellowship of believers. The more I found out about Him – more accurately, the more I got to know Him and His love for me – the more I loved Him, and wanted to spend time in His presence.

Many years later a time came in my life as a Christian that I found myself growing weary, and my heart was growing cold. I fell away from Him for a time and no longer prayed nor read the word. I only went to church to keep up appearances. But after perhaps several months to a year, I repented. I began very deliberately doing the deeds I had done at first – praying, reading, singing His praise, fellowshipping – and the love I have for Him now is even greater than it was before.

God had a plan – You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. As Christians we have most thankfully received God’s plan of forgiveness for our natural lack of ability to love God as we should, as He deserves. On the cross, Jesus bore the penalty for our sins, we are born again, and are filled with the Holy Spirit, and it is the very power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to do the things we can’t – like loving God.

Perhaps you are a Christian who has in some way allowed your heart to grow cold, yet you long to return to the Lord and receive His forgiveness. But you aren’t sure how to go about restoring the love you had back then. Then take the simple prescription found in Revelation 2 – repent, return to your first love, and DO THE DEEDS you did at first. Remember above all that He loves you, and has waited longingly for your return. Lean on Him, trusting Him completely because He will most surely help you – in everything, but especially in something as important as loving Him.

I have written more about our “deeds” as Christians. You might enjoy: Titus, the Good Deeds Book.

Job 42:1-2Then Job answered the LORD and said, "I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted."


Dee Yoder said...

I LOVE to think that the Lord is longing to hear from me with my son...I long to keep my heart close to the Lord's. I can't tell you how many times I lie down at night and say to Him: "It's been a long day, Father, and I didn't take the time to talk with You until now." There's such peace in re-connecting with Him every day!

Dee Yoder said...

And thanks for stopping by my blog! Sherri, if I get the agent thing figured out, you can be sure I'll blog about it-LOL! (:

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Great counsel! Both for marriage and for our spiritual lives. It's a pushing through the process some days, but it's well worth it when those showers of love wet my skin with the truth of God's abiding presence in my life and his love for me.

Thanks for visiting the blog and weighing in. You are always welcome there.


LauraLee Shaw said...

Wonderful words of life! Amen!