In every age and in every part of the world, the church of Jesus Christ needs a message of conviction, of admonition, and of exhortation. It also needs a message of invitation, that its people might come back to the Lord. We see this in Revelation as the Lord Jesus sends messages to seven churches in Asia Minor—messages that are as relevant today as they were nearly 2,000 years ago.
The church of Ephesus was doing well. Jesus commends them for rejecting false teaching, but He then calls them to repent because they had lost their first love. The church in Ephesus loved their accurate Biblical interpretations more than they loved Jesus. They had fallen in love with their good works and out of love for Jesus. Outwardly they went through all the motions; outwardly they did all the right things. But they had a heart problem. They did the right things not out of love for Jesus but because they were trained to do the right things.
If your love for Jesus becomes cold, sooner or later your affection is going to be placed on something else.
If you do the right thing and believe the right thing out of duty, but not out of love for Jesus, sooner or later you're going to find yourself going through the motions—whether reading and studying the Bible, attending church, praying, or singing in worship. And if your love for Jesus becomes cold, sooner or later your affection is going to be placed on something else. You'll begin showing the symptoms of a heart that has grown cold: compromise, complacency, coldness, complaining, and craving the things of this world. Be alert; don't let these results describe you. But if they do, don't despair.
Jesus is our first and best love. Just as He called the church of Ephesus to repent and return to Him, He calls us to do the same today. Has something replaced your love for Christ? Has your heart grown cold toward Him? Repent and return to your first love, Jesus Christ. Have you fallen in love with the approval of men or even with the ministry God has given you? Repent and return to your first love, Jesus Christ. For when you do that, Jesus will grant you to eat from the Tree of Life, to drink from the river of living water. He will reward you, and He will reward your faithful love for Him in ways you cannot comprehend.
Prayer: Lord, show me the ways that I have grown cold to You. Help me to turn from these idols and return to You, my first love. Forgive me for growing cold and replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7).