I was stopped in my tracks as I read the letter to the church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-6).
1″I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary … 6You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
It sounds like a strong church! But one thing is going to bring them down. What is it?
4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
How had they changed? What things did they stop doing?
The Amplified Bible says, “… you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me].”
When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” he replied,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37
I began to ponder this. How do we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind? Would we even know if we, like the Church at Ephesus, left our first love? I’m sure the Ephesians thought they loved the Lord with all their hearts. After all, look at all the great things they were doing. But something must have changed.
I have searched the Scriptures, prayed, and asked other Christians, seeking the answer to this question: What does it mean to love the Lord with your whole heart?
Is it an emotion? An act of our will? Obedience? Praise?
Is it possible that the Ephesians went about the activities of church life, minus the passion of one who has been forgiven? Did they forget how thankful they once were for His forgiveness and love?
I can only infer that as we go about the business of “church”, it is possible to do many good things, yet forget how we first loved Him.
Perhaps now we are busy doing (like Martha) instead of sitting at His feet (like Mary).
The importance of “loving God with all my heart” has been on my mind for several weeks. I ask myself, Do I love Jesus with all my heart? And more importantly, what does Jesus think?
I started thinking about how I show love to my children. For one thing, I tell them – a lot!. So last night I started my prayer like this:
Lord, I love you. I love you with all my heart and soul and mind. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins. I remember how on fire I was for you when I first experienced the forgiveness that “washed me white as snow” and “removed my sins “as far as the east is from the west”.
My heart was flooded with peace because the heaviness of my soul, the anguish of guilt vanished.. I remember how I devoured the Scriptures as I discovered your promises. Give me a heart like David, whose Psalms reflect his deep love for you …..
So let us think back to how we first loved Him. Let us ask ourselves, Do I tell Him that I love Him everyday? And let us ask Him to help us to never forsake the love we had at first.
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103:11-13
Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18
This is My Journey Unscripted.
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