“I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” – Revelation 2:3-4
Scripture reading: Revelation 2:1-7
As the light who stands among the churches, Christ probes dark places and brings everything to light. He commends the Ephesian church for her industry, perseverance and discernment. Though they were busy in service, patient in suffering, and orthodox in doctrine, they were guilty of something as inexcusable as it was incomprehensible: They had forsaken their first love.
At their conversion, the love of the Ephesians had been ardent and fresh. Paul had concluded his famous epistle to them with a special prayer for all those “who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible” (6:24). Thirty years had now passed and their love was faltering, weakening and dying, in part because of controversies with the Nicolaitans. To hate error and evil, we learn, is not the same as to love Christ. The Ephesians were faithful, but frigid. Their orthodoxy was cold because the flame of love for Christ was being extinguished.
With the same tenderness that the Lord showed fickle Israel in the Old Testament, Christ, the groom, endeavours to woo the church back to her first love. He pines for her adoration and grieves when His love is unrequited. Love is the first mark of the church. We are not a living church unless we are a loving church. The foundation of the gospel is an act of love: God’s love for us. But the love of God which generates new life in us, also compels us to forsake all other loves, but love for Christ.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that God would deliver us from thinking that we are well if we are busy and that He would keep the love of Christ burning in our hearts.
Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.