There are many declarations in the New Testament that stand out. One of those statements was given to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2.4. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” I admit, in the name of honesty, that the exact meaning of this phrase eludes me. I could offer some contextual insight, but it would lead to nothing that has not already been proposed by others already. Therefore, for our prayer this week, let us consider this expression in a general fashion related to the greatest commandment given in Matthew 22.37. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This defines the way in which I will use the word first in this message.
There should be no doubt that every relationship poses the possibility of diminishing love. This can manifest itself in diverse ways. The modern usage may allude to a change in feeling toward another person. No longer keeping one’s first love could also define a change in action toward another. If God, biblically speaking, is to be one’s first (preeminent) love, then what would it look like if one were losing that love?
Paul seemingly gives one example in 1 Corinthians 13.1-3. The Corinthians were engaged in many correct actions, yet those actions were not governed by love. In other words, love should have been the motivation that helped the Corinthians carry out various commands and in turn would have provided the much needed regulations required to ensure the proper intent of the command.
Consider the following questions as a personal test regarding your love for God. What is your motivation for doing “Christian” things? Are these things a burden or a joy? Is Christianity about God – or you? Does worship energize or deplete you? Your answers may reveal a similarity with Ephesus. You may be losing your first love.
Sometimes we need subtle reminders in every relationship in order to reengage. Consider the following text. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5.8). It can be difficult to love someone who does not love you back. Thankfully, God illustrated definitively that this is not the case with Him. He could love us even when we do not deserve it. Let’s seek God’s help this week in rejuvenating our first love.
Lord, help me keep my first love