Revelation 2; Nehemiah 3; Psalm 97
From the viewpoint of an outsider, the Church at Ephesus was the church to follow. They worked hard. They kept heresy out. They were doing all the things that a church should be doing and they didn’t grow weary or complain in doing it. Most of us would be proud of being a member of a church like that. How could anyone find fault with a church like that? Jesus, after pointing out all these good things, must have shocked them when He said, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4) As amazing as the church at Ephesus was in doing all kinds of things, they had grown into a pattern where they did everything they were supposed to, but without the love of God that should be the motivating force in all they did. They were going through the motions in a loveless relationship with God. The efforts became the most important part of what they did, not their relationship with God. Jesus went straight to the heart of the matter and reminded them that they needed to get back to the roots of their faith: their love for God. That problem still plagues us as Christians. We often will do the right things, but without the passion of our restored relationship with God. Whether it be something as simple as going to church because it’s part of our weekly routine or working at a mission point because the work needs to be done, we too easily forget that all we do is not supposed to be for God, but because of our love for God. True, it’s a fine line, but it’s one that Jesus pointed out when He spoke to the church at Ephesus. Today, ask yourself why you are serving God the way you are. Are you doing all that you do because it has to be done and God is commanding you or is it because you love God with all your heart and you know that He is directing you to do this? The first is service by compulsion and loveless. The second is joyful service that comes from love of God. Let our lives reflect the passion of our love for God as we serve Him each day.
Lord, so often I end up going through the motions as I seek to serve You and do what You want. Remind me that more than anything You want me to love You. Help me to work because of my love and passion for You. Let that passion draw others to Your love.