I read this text once again this morning from Revelation 2: “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
The Lord is speaking here to the Christians in the ancient church at Ephesus. And because the word of God is eternal, He is also speaking to the modern church wherever it is found.
There is not a Christian alive who ought not read this warning without self-examination. The heart is so susceptible to self-deceit (Jeremiah 17:9), that ONLY a humble seeking for truth about ourselves from the Holy Spirit can keep us walking that straight and narrow path.
Now look at that fourth verse in its context: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. (Revelation 2:2-5)
The Christians of ancient Ephesus were doing A LOT of things right. Read it again: They were persevering in their doctrine, working hard for the gospel, testing the preaching of their teachers against the revealed word of God.
They were doing well. But - - - -
They’d lost something along the way, and they were unaware of their loss. They’d forgotten WHY they were serving Christ. Their love for Him had grown cool and been replaced by ‘doing the right things.’
Application? Oh, my. I don’t have to look further than the mirror for application because I am ever in danger of replacing a passionate love for Jesus – replacing it for ‘doing all the right things.’
And you also are in danger of doing the same.
Let’s return now to the text in Revelation to see what the Lord advises them – and you and me – to do: “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.”
Repent. Seek guidance from the Holy Spirit as to where we are failing to place our love for Jesus as the singular focus of all our ‘doing the right things according to the correct doctrines.’ And then repent and ask His help to live a life of ongoing conversion.