I lean towards being a Type A personality. I very much am driven by goals and tasks, and like to have everything orderly and neat so that I can accomplish said goals. This can be a great thing when needing to get something done. The problem with this personality, however, is that I can forget the “why” of what I am doing, the motivation behind the goal I am after.
And for God, our motivation for why we live in obedience to Him matters just as much (if not more?) as our actual obedience.
In Revelation chapter 2, we get an inside look into the thoughts of Jesus regarding his church at Ephesus. We learn there that, according to Jesus, the church at Ephesus is doing a lot of things really well:
-Working hard, serving the Lord
-Patiently enduring, not giving up on the task
-Holding high the authority of Scripture
But Jesus warns them that if they don’t repent and change one key aspect of their lives then He will remove the church all together. So what is it that this church is missing?
They have abandoned their first love. They are still doing a lot of the right external actions that please the Lord, but they are doing them without love – love for God and love for others. Simply put, they are just going through the motions without the motivation of love, and Jesus has no place for this. How does that reflect a God who, motivated by love, came to rescue His people?! How does loveless obedience fulfill Jesus’ commands to Love God and Love Others (Mark 12:29-31)?!
He warns them: remember where you used to be, walking in love because God has first loved you. Repent of the way you are living, making the conscious decision to set your mind and your heart on things above. And do life once again the way you used to when you were moving in response to the love you had for God and for others.
This is where I found myself recently… in the same position as the Ephesians when they received this letter. On the outside, I’m doing what I need to be doing: spending time in the Word, holding Scripture high, serving the church and community, pressing on even when I no longer want to. But I am simply doing these things because that is what I am supposed to do. I am not moving through life motivated out of love.
I need to stop, remember who I was without Jesus and what He has done to restore my life to Him. I need to repent of my selfish, sinful ways. And I need to move forward in love of God and loving others.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one had died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
Have you ever abandoned your first love? Share with us by commenting below.