There’s something special about our first love. Usually it’s a person, but it can be almost anything; a car, a sport, a place we always find ourselves returning to, or a hobby. It holds a special place in our heart. Does the Lord hold that special place? It’s easy for us to say “yes”, without really thinking this through.
The Church at Ephesus was founded by Paul, and had many great preachers there, including the Apostle John himself. In the letter God inspired John to write to it, there were a lot of things to commend the church. They weren’t afraid of hard work. They were very patient, and yet also uncompromising when faced with false teachers. These were all very good things, but the Lord had one thing against them, and it was so significant it threatened to undo all the good. They had left their first love, and, if they didn’t repent quickly, God Himself would remove His presence from the church.
Notice that they hadn’t ‘lost’ their first love. They knew where it was, and what it was. They had just left it. Other things had slowly taken away its pre-eminence in their lives. They were full of good works, and they had much sound doctrine, but the love of God had just got crowded out. It happens slowly. It happens insidiously. We think we need to attend all those church meetings, and we need to spend lots of time preparing sermons and Bible studies. So, we find ourselves busy with ‘doing’ the works of God, when He would rather we spent time with Him, just ‘being’ like a little child talking to Him, and listening to Him.
Or do we allow God to be crowded out by ‘me time’ on social media, engrossed in TV programmes, or watching sport. I’m not saying those things are bad in themselves, but have we allowed them to crowd Jesus out?
In a 2011 interview with Billy Graham, he said, “If I had to do it all over again, I’d spend more time in meditation and prayer, and just telling the Lord how much I love Him.” I find that an amazing and challenging comment. This man had served God in so many ways, preached to hundreds of millions of people, and led untold numbers to Christ. Yet, looking back on a long life, he wished much more of it was spent with Jesus.
Let me take you to Acts 4:13, ‘Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognised that they had been with Jesus’. Wow! Don’t you wish that were you? I know I wish it were me. The truth is that it can be you and me. The question is, where is our first love? Is Jesus first, last, or somewhere in the middle? Today, let’s begin that journey of returning to our first love. He hasn’t moved. He hasn’t deserted us. He isn’t angry. He’s where He’s always been, where we left Him, and He’s waiting patiently for us. Let’s hurry back today.
Prayer: Oh Lord, please forgive me for neglecting You, my true first love. You’ve never left me, but I’ve left You. I’ve been caught up in the busyness of serving You, doing so much stuff, when in reality only one thing is necessary, and that’s spending quality time with You. The rest flows out of that, not the other way round. Please help me to return to You today. Amen.
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