“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love”Revelation 2:4
There have been changes and there will be more changes in the way Christians express their worship of the Lord during the present difficult times. It will be a time of testing as to whether we truly worship the Lord or merely have a weekly habit that makes us feel we have worshipped the Lord. It is the right time for us to check ourselves and ensure that our activities, practices and habits have not replaced genuine love and worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christians in the church at Ephesus had been actively doing the right things and the Lord acknowledges that in verses two and three. They worked hard and persevered in ministry to one another. They endured mocking and criticism from unbelievers. As in all ages there are those who claim to represent God but do so falsely. These they tested against Scripture and found them wanting and rejected their teaching. All that they did they did for the sake of Jesus Christ. However, in the midst of all this good activity they neglected the most important thing.
That which was neglected is the same as that which is often neglected in many marriages that sometimes end in break up. The Christians at Ephesus had neglected their relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus exposes their neglect with these words, “You have left your first love.”
Fortunately for them and for us He gives the remedy: remember and repent. Remember how you responded to Christ’s love and forgiveness and the gratitude you experienced. Remember that Jesus died and shed His own blood for your sin. Go back to that which began your relationship and reengage with Him in personal communion.
In such a time as this let us follow Jesus’ counsel to the church at Ephesus and ensure that we maintain our intimate relationship with Him. Is our first love our form of worship or is the object of worship our first love? Activities of serving and ministering to others will flow out of that relationship but they must never be allowed to be a substitute for it. Activity is no substitute for a relationship with Jesus. We live in testing times, a problem for the world but an opportunity for believers. For the sake of those who will respond to the Gospel of Christ we must be ready and willing to share it with them with a compassionate heart in love and truth.