Posted by: bellissimanh | February 12, 2012

My First Love… ooooohhhhhhhhhh…

My choral group recently had a concert and I was blessed to perform a duet with another member of the group. We sang “Endless Love”. This is not a post about that. LOL

The other day, we were studying Jesus’ message to the church of Ephesus in Revelation:

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.” (Rev. 2:2-5  NKJV, italics mine)

I have always heard this passage interpreted to mean that they had lost their burning passion for Jesus… that by “First Love” Jesus was referring to Himself alone. Remember what your first love was like? You couldn’t stop thinking about him… talked about him ALL the time (much to the annoyance of your friends)… always wanted to be with him. Yeah… passionate. So I always took these verses to mean that they had forsaken the love they had for JESUS at first… but a closer examination shows that it might be even more than that.

Perhaps a different translation will give some insight. Here is verse 4 in the NIV:

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”

Not as clear, is it? Love for what? For whom?

In Ephesians 1:15-16 Paul wrote: “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers…”

Could it mean that Christ wasn’t just referring to their love for Himself, but also their love for one another? He has commanded that we love one another, and said that if we love Him, we will obey His commandments. So is it possible to have a burning passion for Jesus, but NOT love all the Saints? In this admonition to the church of Ephesus, could He have been implying that they had lost love, not just for Him, but also for one another? Was he exhorting them to excel in THAT love as well? Read verse 5 again…

“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from it’s place — unless you repent.”

What were the first works? Could it have been a labor of love?

I suppose we can’t know for sure, but the concept certainly isn’t contradicted anywhere else in Scripture… in fact, Scripture supports it. So getting real with the thing… what does it mean?

For me it means this: If I claim to love Jesus above all else, I had better learn to love His children as well. Not loving with word, but loving with deed. I should be prepared to sacrifice for them. To serve them. To comfort and encourage them. To come alongside and support them. To pray for them without ceasing. And yes… even to feel something for them. We can say the words, but honestly… isn’t it a tall order? I mean, there are people that are just not easy to love, aren’t there? And yet there’s no disclaimer here… no method of escape for those we don’t happen to “clique” with (pun intended).

Are you challenged? I know I am.

Father, show me who it is you desire for me to love on this week. Help me to sacrifice for them… to really be there for them, not with a quick “I’ll pray for you”, but by taking the time say stop and pray on the spot. Show me practical ways to serve my brothers and sisters, whether I feel like it or not. I trust that as I’m obedient in this – Your command to love with action – You will be faithful to grow the feelings of love in my heart for others, even those I find especially challenging. I want to do this for YOU, Lord… I want to follow You wherever You lead, no matter the cost to myself. You are my first love… let my passion for You never grow cold. Use it to fuel the fire in my heart for others as well. Don’t let it be words, Lord… let it be truth that sets its roots deep in the soil of my heart and grows into a mighty oak of obedience, splashing Your love onto all those near to its shade. Make me more like You, Jesus… rekindle the fire and don’t ever let my love grow cold. You are beyond worthy.

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