Revelation 2; Nehemiah 3; Psalm 97
You know when a person is just going through the motions at work. They’re supposed to welcome you to the establishment so you hear them say, “Hi welcome to our store,” as you walk in. There’s no smile, no enthusiasm in the voice. Words come out without meaning. It’s almost a mockery of the intent to make everyone feel welcome the minute they walk into the store.
The church at Ephesus had gone through a lot of persecution. The members had endured the hardships and were working hard to stay faithful. But in that process, they had forgotten something very important. “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” (Revelation 2:3-4) The Christians at Ephesus were going through the motions. They knew how they needed to live to “be holy” and so they lived like that; their enthusiasm, their love for God was gone.
It’s so easy to think about the things we need to do because we are followers of Christ that we forget about why we follow. We get our checklists out and read our Bibles, pray the required number of minutes, submerge our feelings and act nicely towards others, go to church, give exactly the right amount of money, and do all the things that show we are Christians to other people. The problem is that we have made our relationship with God a bunch of boxes checked on an envelope.
Where is the love in all of that? Where is the relationship with God that we had when we first realized His love for us. When we came to Christ we were excited because we realized that God had forgiven all our sins. We lived in gratitude for His mercy and grace. Forget the checklists. Forget worrying about what other people will think about you. Jesus reminds us to return to that relationship that was established on God’s love, mercy and grace. Experience the love and the joy once again.
Lord, in my attempts to prove how much I love You, I have lost that love for You. Restore the joy of my salvation today. Restore that experience of love as I experience Your mercy and grace anew today.