Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love (Revelation 2:4, KJV)
The book of Revelation begins with a vision of Jesus giving specific messages to the 7 Churches in Asia, beginning with the Church in Ephesus. These Churches were literal local Churches in Asia. We are familiar with the Ephesians and the local Church in Ephesus. However, the number 7 prophetically represents the whole Church, so the messages are for the entire Body of Christ.
After commending the Ephesians for their works and rejection of abominable doctrines, He rebukes them for having left their first love. What is this first love? The next verse gives us a clue as to what Jesus was referring to:
“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” (Revelation 2:5, KJV)
He connects the “first love” to “first works”. There are things the Ephesians were doing when they first believed and were bubbling in the love of God. Their love for Him was active and productive. You remember when Pau preached to the Ephesians, they were so touched that they burned all their magic books. They were probably so eager to hear the Word Paul preached, were hungry for God, wanted to tell everyone they met about Jesus, were so thirsty for God’s presence that they could not wait for their time to pray, etc etc. There are works that usually accompany love, and first works go with first love.
Jesu shows us here that He was very pleased with the first love. As time went on, something tragic happened. Their first love died. They became “mature Christians” and lost what was very pleasant to God. This happens to almost all of us. Many of you reading this devotional will immediately identify with the rebuke of the Ephesians from Jesus. Your first love for God is probably gone. Do you remember how you used to hunger to know the Father more when you first believed? You probably were so excited to tell people about Jesus and so eager to obey God. When you sinned, it pierced your heart, and you were quick to repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness. What happened to you too? What happened to your first love? It is probably the same thing that happened to the Ephesians, which also happened to me that is probably happening to you. We let our first love grow cold by the passage of time, familiarity with God and probably picking up bad religious habits here and there.
Jesus instructs us on what to do next to return to our first love. He says we should remember from where we are fallen. Remember how you used to love God. Remember how your faith was fiery hot for God and your love was so genuine. Jesus says, remember from where you are fallen. For some of you, you should remember how the Spirit of God used to work through you powerfully in power and wisdom. Maybe there was a gift of the Spirit that was fully functional in you, but it is almost dead now. Jesus says to remember those “good days” because He really loved seeing you in your first love for Him. He continues and says you should repent and do the first works. Repentance here is not just feeling remorse. It is making a decision to change. Maybe you abandoned that zeal you had for studying the Word of God and now you only read your Bible on special occasions. He wants you to make up your mind, change that situation and go back to your first love.
The Lord help you to return to your first love and have that passion and fire for Him continue to grow rather than diminish over time.
I want you to think of one thing that comes to your mind about your first love in Christ that is now dead. What happened?
APPLY THE WORD
Follow Jesus’ instructions to return to your first love: remember, repent and do the first works. That first love should increase and not decrease. Be careful not to “mature yourself out of what God is pleased with in your life”. Do not become more “experienced as a Christian and with Church” and lose the things Jesus wants in your life.
Ask the Spirit of the Lord to help you restore that first love in your life and never allow it to die or diminish anymore. Pray your first love with its works will continue to increase daily.