‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. ‘ Revelation 2:4-5
I had a conversation on Tuesday evening with a brother in Christ, in which I have a great deal of respect for. During that conversation, he shared experiences he had a a recent elder leadership conference. At one point in the conversation, he referenced this passage from Revelation and the crushing conviction he experienced when he heard it. The past few days I have meditated and considered this passage a great deal. I too am heavily burdened by the conviction this has placed on my heart. I went to my study bible to see what insights it might have to offer. There’s two schools of thought regarding what Jesus means by “first love”. Some believe that He is referencing a loss of love for Christ by the Ephesian believers. Others believe the Ephesians had lost love for one another and needed to revive the compassionate works they had done at first. There are other interpreters that believe both are in view. I would be inclined to believe this, as well.
As we see in Mark 12:29-31, love of Christ and love of neighbor are the greatest of commandments. So, I find it hard to separate one from the other. When I think about this passage in the context of my own life and walk with Christ, when I am most focused on passionate pursuit of Jesus, loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, love for neighbor is an absolute by product. When I am distracted and not being intentional with Jesus, my love for others dims, as well. I have left “my first love”.
The bad news for those of us that find ourselves in this situation is that He will “remove your lampstand out of its place“. In other words, at present and when Christ returns, we would lose our status and be treated like apostate Israel. That is a heartbreaking prospect.
However, there’s good news. As Jesus always does, He offers a solution. Conviction, followed by repentance and returning to love of Jesus and others will restore your lampstand.
I think this is an extremely prevalent and evident condition in the American church. I think if we are honest with ourselves, most, if not all, would say that they are or have been guilty of this. I know for me it seems to ebb and flow. At times I am on fire for Jesus and it flows through every aspect of my life and interactions. At other times, I am not focused on Jesus, my heart is closed off to Him and consequently felt by all those around me. I thank Jesus, that His devotion to me never wavers in the least, let alone to the extent mine does. I thank Jesus, that He continually brings people and opportunities in to my sphere to bring about revelations, such as this, to redirect my focus and allow me the opportunity to change. I thank Jesus, that He puts this on my heart so that I may recognize this lost love in others and He might grant me the opportunity and wisdom to affect a positive change where needed. Have a blessed weekend.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy