“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4)
Humans are such creatures of habit. Day after day we go through our busy routines knowing exactly what to do, but often having little passion as we do it. Routine can lead to complacency; this complacency often manifesting itself in our most important human relationships whereby over time, the love, passion and commitment to that special someone ceases to exist. It is when peripheral issues are allowed to take precedence that relationships break down. Perhaps thought of as common in our day, complacency and lack of commitment in our relationships need not be considered either common or for that matter, normal.
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” The people in the church at Ephesus had a problem with commitment, if not to each other, certainly to Jesus. The apostle John received and recorded the Revelation from its Divine author, Jesus Christ. At the beginning of Revelation we find seven letters written to seven different churches that existed in the first century. These seven churches are thought to characterize churches throughout the entire church age. Though not all of the churches received both, a common pattern of these letters included things in which they were to be commended, as well as things deserving of rebuke. The church at Ephesus received both. They had much to be commended for; the great work they did for the cause of Christ; their perseverance, spiritual discernment and their refusal to tolerate evil. But despite all of that, they had flaws, and these flaws mattered.
Those to whom John was writing in the church at Ephesus had abandoned the love they had for Christ in the beginning. Have you done the same? Do you burn with the same passion for Christ, the same desire to make your relationship with Him a priority? We’re not told why such was the case in Ephesus, only that it was. And consequences followed. Although they knew their doctrine, the people at Ephesus forgot that their Christian faith was first and foremost about a relationship with Christ and as a result, they grew cold, not only toward Him, but toward each other. We would do well to learn from their mistake.
When our relationship with Jesus takes a back seat to anything, don’t assume consequences won’t follow. They will. Your relationship with Christ will affect all other relationships. It is not only impossible, but naïve to think you can be all God created you to be if He’s not the first priority in your life. We can never forget that a right theology and a right relationship go together, but also that time and commitment are critical to both. Commitment follows true love. A deliberate effort made on your part to guard your time and commitment to the Lord is not being legalistic or to make Him love you more. It is so you would know Him and all that He purposes for your life. It is so your worship would be true. Ultimately though, it is that you would live for nothing short of what the Lord is due, His glory.
Lord, often the routine of life takes priority over our relationship with you. Even when these are good and noble things, it is still wrong. Forgive us. Thank you for being such a gracious God. Help us to focus our attention on you above all things, thankful for all that you have done for us in Christ. It is in His name we pray. Amen.