It is easy to get out of touch with God and try to live the Christian life on our own. We all fall into it. But when we realize what has gone wrong, how do we go about mending it?
In Revelation we read Jesus’ message to the church in Ephesus—an incredible passage that can turn your stomach inside-out! If you remember the story of the Ephesians from Acts 19, you know that when Paul preached the Gospel to them, a great number believed. They brought their sorcery books, worth 50,000 pieces of silver, and burned them publicly. They took a stand against darkness and committed themselves to Christ, separating themselves from their former ways of living.
Paul wrote that the Ephesians were blessed with “every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3) and prayed for them for “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (verse 17). But now Jesus told them:
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 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. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
There is a fascinating paradox in this passage. First Jesus is positive: “You are doing many good things.” Then He says, “Repent and do the same things.”
At first it sounds confusing, doesn’t it? But Jesus was saying something was missing in the Ephesians’ lives. They were laboring the same as always, but their inner motivation had changed. It was no longer “labor prompted by love” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). They had forsaken their first love.
When you find yourself in a situation like this, the Lord wants you to come to Him and say something like this: “Lord, I’m still doing all these things, but now it’s only mechanical. The spring is wound and things keep going, but my heart for You is no longer involved. I don’t have the same love for the lost; I do these things because I have to do them. It’s been a long time, Lord, since I cried over the lost world. My concerns have turned to myself and my own problems. Please, Lord, give me that genuine heart motivation once again.”
I encourage you to take this first step of repentance.
Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Living in the Light of Eternity (ISBN 9781595891402) © 2014 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.
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