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"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of
him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the
seven golden lampstands: 2 I
know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that
you cannot tolerate wicked men, 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. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
John's vision, the glorified Christ has words of commendation and
warning for seven churches. The first was the church in Ephesus. He
commended them for good deeds, hard work, perseverance, holiness, and
discernment. He warned them that, despite all these good qualities, they
had forsaken their first love—their love for him.
is unsettling to realize how it is possible to do good, work hard, be
committed, and exercise commitment, and yet somehow lose sight of a
genuine love for Jesus himself. While a sincere love for Christ will
always produce the good qualities and actions the Ephesians displayed,
these commendable qualities, without love for Christ, are bound to
deteriorate into religiosity and law. What results is a churchianity that
is both unsustainable and empty.
Response and Action:
must cultivate my love for Jesus. My obedience and commitment to
Christ must be rooted in my love and trust for him. I will nurture my
love for Jesus through worship, expressions of thanks, and meditation
upon the things he did and the words he said. I will remember that
following Christ is more than belief, obedience, and perseverance; it is
Lord Jesus, the Alpha
and Omega, the Beginning and the End, I believe you are the Christ,
the Son of the Living God. Help me to love you with my whole heart, so
that my obedience and deeds and commitment might flow out of that
love. Thank you for your great love for me. Forgive me for the times I
lose sight of you and forget that you want more than my belief and my
behavior -- you want my love. Amen.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
by Michael Spencer