ODJ: first love

August 26, 2015 

READ: Revelation 2:1-7 

I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! (v.4).

Growing communities, rooted in God’s love and story, reaching out and restoring lives.

This vision statement was crafted last year by the elders of our local church. They recognised that certain practices and traditions were holding our congregation back from true spiritual vitality in Jesus. The statement has helped guide the elders as they’ve made changes they believe will encourage our people to love God, one another and others better.

Sometimes we can fall in love with practices and traditions at the peril of losing our love for Jesus. He addressed this in the words He gave to the apostle John in the book of Revelation. In chapters 2–3 we find letters for seven churches in which Jesus brought kudos and/or warnings to the congregations.

The church at Ephesus received commendation for “hard work”, “patient endurance”, suffering and the repelling of false teachers (2:2-3). But then Jesus said, “I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first. Look how far you have fallen!” (vv.4-5). The Ephesian believers were faithful, but they had lost their deep love for God and for one another. Perhaps the immense wealth and independence of Ephesus had rubbed off on them or persecution and suffering had worn them down.

What was Jesus’ plaintive and powerful remedy for the church? Turn back to me (v.5).

It’s good for us to take those words to heart as well. What ‘good things’ like traditions and practices have replaced our passion for Jesus? What material things or hardships have robbed us of our love for Him and other believers?

As Paul wrote, without real love we’re “nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). May we turn back to Jesus and His great love today.

—Tom Felten

365-day-plan: Mark 10:35-52

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and meditate on what it says true love is all about. 
What thoughts and emotions filled your heart and mind when you first received Jesus as your Saviour? How will a deeper love relationship with your “First Love” affect your love for others?