“‘3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent." - Revelation 2:3-5
Jesus wrote those words to the Church in Ephesus. Even though they were living their lives in the name of Jesus they had forgotten something very important - Jesus. It is all too easy to draw comparisons to the churches of today . . . and to ourselves.
As I look around the world I can easily see the same thing happening in His churches today that happened to the churches 2,000 years ago. We have become so distracted with ourselves, or with other "idols", we have lost our first love - Jesus. We CALL ourselves Christians, and I am one, yet we are simply are not ACTING like Christians these days. I would like to explore that sad truth a little bit here today.
What are some of the things we are doing as Christians that would make Jesus want to remove OUR lampstands? What are we doing, or not doing, that would make Jesus think we are forgetting Him?
First we must go back and examine where we came from. Do you remember what it was like when you first met Jesus? What did you do? How did you act? What changed in your life when you first met Him?
I can only speak for myself, really, but I have also been witness to other people who have become believers and what I observed happening in THEIR lives when they first believed. Here is a short list of what I have observed.
- We read the Bible more
- We went to church/worship more
- We prayed more
- We repented more
- We were more obedient
- We were more humble
- We were more teachable
Going to church. Has this become routine in your life? When I first believed I couldn't attend church enough. I sometimes went to multiple services each Sunday. I don't do that as often as I once did. "Church" doesn't mean the same thing to me today as it once did. Back when I was young and new in my faith. We walk in the doors in casual dress, we clutch our coffee mugs as we enter the sanctuary. Church has become more about OUR comfort than our repentance. We should be feeling worshipful on Sundays and, I believe, we should be feeling UNcomfortable in our sin.
Prayer was something I use to do every morning. I got up and knelt in the living room and prayed. Today, I just don't have the time to pray. At least that's what it boils down to. I have to get to work. I am grateful to have a friend to pray with each workday morning. Prayer is the way we communicate with God. Can we ever pray enough? I think not.
And what about obedience? How are we doing with that? In my opinion, we fail miserably in our obedience. "Yes, I am a Christian. And yes, I am living with my boyfriend." Do you know what Jesus would say to that? My guess is . . . "Hypocrites!" Or perhaps you are living an alternative life style. "Repent and come to me," He would say. Jesus would call us idolators and lovers of self. And He would be right.
I went out to eat with some family members last night, Did we pray? No. Why not? We all profess Christianity. Why didn't we give thanks to God for our food? Good question. I mouthed a prayer in silence but I did not bow my head or close my eyes. Why not? Afraid of what others might think? Hypocrite!
Are you open to learning new things about God? Or do you think you know it all and have heard it all? We need to be more teachable, more humble and more repentant.
Repentance is one of the biggest things we are missing in our faith lives today. We go to church and are told to make ourselves "comfortable" and to "worship as you please." Instead, shouldn't we be worshiping in a way that pleases God? Does God want us to be comfortable as we worship? I don't think so. I think He's rather see us fall on our faces.
Today is Valentine's Day. Spend some time with your first love. He loves you and misses you. Tell Him that you love Him . . . as long as it is called today.
Love Knows No End - Hillsong