By Our Love

Revelation 2:4

By_Our_Love

The Church in Ephesus was established by the Apostle Paul and became one of the most prominent churches in the early days of Christianity. Paul ministered in Ephesus for three years (Acts 19:1-20), and a few years later wrote the church a special letter of encouragement and instruction (the book of Ephesians); “Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15).

The Ephesians were doing most things “right.” They had strong programs, an acute awareness of sin, and a work ethic which should characterize any thriving church: “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. You have persevered and have endured hardships for My name, and have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:2-3).

The hard work of the Ephesian church was readily acknowledged; and yet, they had forgotten that “only one thing is {truly} needed” (Luke 10:42). Though they maintained an outward appearance of devotion, and may have actually accomplished many “Kingdom-driven” goals, the once burning love in their heart had begun to fade.

Revelation 2:4
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.”

When we first understand the ugliness of our sin, the death our sin deserves, and how Jesus died to make us clean, we cannot help but be filled with thankfulness…and love. But sadly, in our attempt to “mature,” we often shift our focus to the “doing” of outward activities and forget the love which once consumed our heart. We may study more, attend more, and serve more (all of which are good), but we have forgotten how to simply be still and worship at His feet.

As we mature in Christ, we must never outgrow our ability to love; “Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5). Dear Lord, forgive us for setting up barriers which keep us from truly loving others. Forgive us for being so busy that we forsake our intimate love for You. And forgive us for trying to work for what You so freely give. Help us to always remember the MOST important!

Let’s return to the place of simple devotion – the place of true worship and all-consuming love. There will always be opportunities to express our faith in good works and service to God. These should not be neglected! But as we work hard, resist sin, and possibly endure great hardship, let’s remember that what Jesus truly desires is our heart. In the end, when we see Him face to face, He will look deep within and He will know us by our love.

Have a Christ Centered Day!

Steve Troxel
God’s Daily Word Ministries

**** Reading Plan ****

Jul 25 2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14; Romans 9:1-24; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 20:1

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