“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Rev 2:2-5
We can quickly become work-orientated believers, such as those found in the church of Ephesus. Though we go through the motions of serving the Lord our hearts are not in tuned as they once were, we are in danger of becoming like those who God rebukes:
These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me. – Matt 15:8
Our faith – becomes faithless. It becomes like a job we just do to get it done. The desire to go deep into the Lord’s treasures have diminished. Our life in Christ is no longer and becomes about Christ. These are two distinctly different paths. Being in Christ involves intimacy with Him in which we experience His love, grace, and holiness because we walk in step not only in our doings but in our hearts, minds, and communication. In Jesus’s ministry, He demonstrated the importance of taking time alone to be with His Father in prayer. He even said that everything He did was by His Father’s direction; John 5:19. We cannot do what the Lord wants unless we make it our practice to learn what this is. Our faith will not grow if we do not fill ourselves with the truth; Rom 10:17. When we lack faith we are in unbelief and put ourselves in danger. We must practice two things: time alone with the Lord in prayer and reading and studying the Word in the Scriptures. Yet, even doing these, we can still be disjointed from the Lord. Look at the Pharisees as the example and who the Lord exposed.
We must make it our habit to look at our hearts and motives and see if we are genuinely devoted to the Lord. Only the Lord can reveal this to us, so we must ask Him to show us our hearts.
One with the Lord
When we join the Lord – in the new birth- we have become one with Him and the Father by His Holy Spirit. Paul describes our union with Christ as comparable to marriage; Ephes 5. Our devotion to our spouses will be apparent in how we treat them. If we only gave them what is expected and never desired to talk to them, listen to them or even be with them, it would only be a matter of time before things crumble.
Our life in Christ is one of faith to which we go out and be who He calls us to be. First and foremost, above all ministries and service – we are His love. Our priority is receiving His love – so we may love Him;
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Because the Lord is not physically in our midst, we often neglect our union with Him through distractions that demand our attention. Often, in very sober reality, we treat animals with more love and affection than we do with the Lord, who bought for us freedom.
In our neglect, our spiritual life will not contain the vitality that comes from being close to our Savior. The only way is to go back – to where we have fallen, repent and begin to love the Lord with all our hearts, mind, and strength. How many of us automatically slow down when we see a police car as we drive? If we genuinely believe that the Lord sees, hears, and is always with us, how much more so does He deserve our attention, respect, and love?
I am so glad that the Lord is gracious, and His mercies are new every morning! No matter where we are in our walk with the Lord, we can all stand to refresh our love, devotion, and intimacy – He is worthy and deserves more. Amen.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. Lam 3:22-23.