Thursday, May 25, 2023
Revelation 2:4 “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”
An old Gospel hymn is on my mind today.
There is a name I love to hear; I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear; the sweetest name on earth.
It tells me of a Savior’s love, Who died to set me free;
It tells me of His precious blood, the sinner’s perfect plea.
Oh, how I love Jesus; Oh, how I love Jesus; Oh, how I love Jesus;
Because He first loved me.
As I thought about the words “Oh, how I love Jesus,” I was immediately convicted by the Holy Spirit. “Do you really love Jesus all that much? Is Jesus the one true love of your life?”
I had to honestly answer no. At first, I attached a qualifying statement to that answer –“At least not as much as I should or could” – but quickly realized I was only attempting to validate the love I do have. We tend to do that when we answer questions: we defend ourselves rather than humble ourselves.
So the answer is simply NO! I do not love Jesus adequately as defined by Jesus in Matthew 22:37 – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” As a result, I also do not love others adequately either, for how can love flow from me when the Source of love is being ignored? I have promoted things of the world to a higher priority than my love for Jesus. Projects have become more important than prayer. Relaxation and recreation have replaced relationships. Personal success often becomes my agenda rather than the mission of Jesus Christ. Oh, how I love myself.
I discovered some interesting truths in Jesus’ letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7. Please read it.
Here’s what I discovered:
- The people of this church were doing the work of God – vs. 2
- They were enduring persecution and hardship and remaining faithful – vs. 2-3
- They were taking a public stand against evil in their day – vs. 2
- They were carefully holding to the truth of the Gospel – vs. 2
- They hated the false teaching of Nicolas (Acts 6) that promoted sensual and materialistic living – vs. 6
Yet in contrast to all that Jesus said, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” He says they have fallen from a previous position of honor and needed to repent (vs. 5). And then Jesus says that all the other work they were doing would become meaningless unless they repented, for He would come and remove their lampstand from them.
OUCH! Not loving Jesus has dire consequences. The day is coming, and in fact may already be here for some, when those who have lost their first love of the Savior, who loved them first and saved them from their sin, will become ineffective in the work they are trying to do for the Lord. It all hinges on love.
Love for self and love for the world are opposed to love for Jesus and serve as barriers to the expression of His power in our lives.
Every time the lyrics or melody to that hymn flash across my mind today, may my heart be humbled to realize that it is at that very moment that the Lord Jesus wants me to love Him more than whatever else I am doing. Let the journey of growth continue.