I believe the Lord has a Word for many of us in the church today. The call is out for us to return to our first love. It is much like the call from the Lord to the church of Ephesus, in His first letter to the seven churches of Revelation 2:1-7. Consider the following portion of what the Lord had to say to them.
Some might say, oh what difference does it make, I am not turning my back on the Lord completely. I am still not running off with the world. Well, if we continue to go cold on the Lord, we will only grow colder. There may be some that believe we are under so much grace that we do not have to have a respectful relationship with the Lord. Jesus has said that if His correction is not heeded, one’s light will be removed.
Hopefully we are not like the ones in the church of the Laodiceans, the ones of the last of the seven churches.
The amazing thing about the Laodiceans, is that they did not even know how bad their condition was. If they did not listen to the Lord's warning, the harshest outcome awaited them: they were going to be spewed out of the Lord's mouth! None of us want to lose your relationship with Jesus. We must pay attention to our spiritual condition and love our Lord sincerely and totally. Jesus said that those who love Him keep His commandments (John 14:21).
Letting the world come between us and the Lord is like allowing the devil to put a little brick of a wall here and there. The Lord does not want any bricks between He and us. And if we let it continue, a wall starts to form and then one day, a whole wall is there. We go through the religious motions, but our heart is not in it. We lose our intimacy with the Lord. We start to seriously grieve the Holy Spirit, our hearts begin to get calloused, and our spiritual hearing gets worse and worse. The cure is in what the Lord said: “Remember from where we have fallen from, repent and do the first works.”
So where did we fall from? When we first became Christians, we were so thankful that God loved us and that Jesus died for us. Most of us were exuberant and wanted others to come to the Lord also. We had intimacy with the Lord. We had joy. We longed to please Him. We were so thankful to be delivered from the bondage of sin and its consequences. We had integrity and served and worshiped the Lord in sincerity and truth.
But in time, the world and its pressures can creep back in. Our focus can slip from the Lord and on whatever supersedes His importance, whether it is job pressure, money, children, relationships, etc. or the great common one in America, distraction by pleasure. We start to look more upon the gift than the giver.
Father God longs to bless us but often we allow the blessing to come between us and Him. Can you imagine that as a parent you want to bless your children by buying them a nice phone and then that phone steals their time with you? The phone may also lead to their harm by the ugly things they find there.
Or you buy them a computer and it consumes their time and attention. Or there is the common scenario that happens with parents and their children. The child who once just wanted their parents’ attention, now would rather be with their friends than you. Your love and desire did not change, but circumstances led them away.
A scary situation happens for many believers. Some of us get more caught up in servanthood, than the One we are supposed to be serving. Or we get caught up in religiosity rather than grace. We let self-righteousness and pride rule us, and become critical of all those around us and their actions, declaring that we have all the answers and know what everyone’s true motive is. We are not God or the Holy Spirit. Who have many of us allowed ourselves to become? Praise the Lord He does not give up on us.
No one wants to be in a one-sided relationship. It is not fun to try to eat dinner with someone who prefers to be on their phone. Or take a trip, with a dear friend or spouse, and then for them to be constantly on their phone or always have their mind in another place. And when one says to the other that they are not paying attention to them anymore, the other placates them with insincere attention, but not from the heart.
The Lord wants us to belong to Him with all our hearts, and in sincerity and truth. He will not be insincerely placated. He will work with us to help us get back on track, but it is up to us to do it. We must do so out of love and respect for the Lord, as well as for our own sake. It is not He who built the wall or went down the wrong road. We must repent for allowing whatever came between us and our patient and loving Savior, Jesus. We must die to self once again. And return to cherishing the Lord and listening for the Holy Spirit’s voice, and seeking to honor whatever He directs. Without intimacy with the Lord, there is no real life.
Break us if you have to Lord, but please help us get back to where we first began.
Here is a collection of verses for further thought to help us return to, or stay in, right relationship with the Lord.
Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Matthew 10:37-39 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
James 1:23-27 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
2 Peter 1:5-11 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:3-6 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives."
Hebrews 12:12-13 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? --unless indeed you are disqualified.
John 14:21a “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me."
Galatians 4:9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Revelation 2:1-7 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 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. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.'”
Revelation 3:14-22 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
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