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By: Larry Shaffer
It’s December and time for some Christmas memories. This pic was on our Christmas postcard, 1985.
Where’s the love
This passage contains the first of the seven letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor. This letter, written to the church in Ephesus, contains a phrase that is familiar to most of us …”I have this against you, that you have left your first love,” v4. They were commended for the deeds of a good church; they toiled; they persevered; they showed spiritual discernment; they endured persecution. But their love for God was cold. They acted right but without heart. They were religious, but without love. Interesting to me that Jesus says to them “you have left your first love, remember from where you have fallen and repent….and DO THE DEEDS YOU DID AT FIRST.” Odd. He just told them their deeds are all good but then He says, “do the deeds you did at first.” I can only conclude that the same deeds done from one who loves Him is different in God’s eyes than the deeds done from a cold heart. Same deeds, different heart. Go back, He tells them, and do the good things you are doing but do them with the right heart.
We say, “I feel better because I went to church” or “I feel better because I did this service project,” or “I feel better because I served in the nursery at church.” We tend to think that the “doing” is the real work and the real sacrifice. Jesus says, more than anything else, seek to love Me. To Love is better than sacrifice. It’s easy to appease our guilt by doing something. It is more elusive to say, “today I will love God more”.
Perhaps this command to return to our first love pushes us toward full dependence upon God. All I can do is pray, seek God, call upon Him, earnestly pursue Him in prayer and ask, “fill my heart with love for you”. I can’t just determine to do it. It would almost be easier if the command was to do something. Then I could just do it. But no, it’s about feeling more love for Him. I can’t manufacture it, I can’t fake it, I can’t just do it. I need you Lord to pour Your love afresh within me until it is overflowing. It’s not about what I must DO today but what You, Lord must do within me. Jesus is saying repent, because your sense of significance is in what you DO, not in what I, the Lord, have done and am doing within you! Lord, Fill me with YOUR love!