Scripture : Revelation 2:4
” Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
The Loveless Church
One of the seven churches in Asia which the Lord Jesus told John the Apostle to write to is the church of Ephesus (Rev 2:1). The church of Ephesus had some virtues which the Lord Jesus commended. Firstly, they could not tolerate evil and those who were evil (Rev 2:2). Secondly, they had the ability to discern true ministers from the false ones as they had tested those who said they were apostles and were not, and had found them liars (Rev 2:2). And thirdly, they had the patience and perseverance to labor for the sake of the name of the Lord and had not become weary (Rev 2:3). Nevertheless, the Lord had something against them. He was not pleased with them because they had left their first love (Rev 2:4).
The First Love
First love is the love that the people of God have and feel as soon as they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for the first time. It is the spontaneous love for the Lord Jesus springing up in our heart as we come to know Him. This first love for the Lord is like the love that we feel when we fall in love with someone for the first time. We always want to be with the person we fall in love with. We keep thinking and seeing this person in our mind. We always want to show this person how much he or she means to us and to do those things that pleases him or her. We are quick to say that we are sorry when we feel that we have hurt him or her. This person becomes the focus of our attention and our life revolves around him or her. We were like that when we first came to know the Lord Jesus. He became the focus of our attention and our life centered and revolved around Him. Thoughts of the Lord Jesus were always in our mind. We always wanted to spend much time with the Lord Jesus and showed Him how much He meant to us by doing those things that are pleasing to Him. Whenever we felt that we sinned against the Lord, we were quickly to repent and asked His forgiveness. When these things are missing from our life, then we have left our first love for the Lord.
The Danger of Leaving the First Love
Having the first love is very important for us because the Lord Jesus considers His people who have left their first love as having fallen although they still possess some virtues. Moreover, the Lord also warns that leaving our first love will eventually cause our lampstand to be removed from its place, meaning that we shall lose our testimony as His people (Rev 2:5). We may still have some forms of godliness, knowledge of the truth and diligence of labor for the Lord, however, the Lord will no longer use us as His testimony. People will not see God in us, let alone, come to Him because of us.
Restoring the First Love
The Lord wants us to always have our first love for Him. However, if we find ourselves that we have left our first love, how then can it be restored? There are three things in our part that we must do (Rev 2:5). Firstly, we must remember from where we have fallen. We need to look back at our life when we still had our first love. We should ask the Holy Spirit to revive those memories until they can stir our emotions so that we want that love again. Secondly, we must repent before God. As the Spirit brings to remembrance those memories into our mind and we realize how deep we have fallen, then we should humbly acknowledge that we have left our first love and we are sorry for that. Thirdly, we must do the first works again. These first works are the works that people are supposed to do as soon as they come to know the Lord for the first time. We must spend a lot of time in the presence of God waiting on Him, reading and meditating on the Word of God, praying and worshipping God until we receive the fresh revelation of His love for us. We must stop being like Martha, busy with much activities (including serving), worried and troubled about many things, and be like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing His word (Luk 10:39-41).
The Love of God
The only thing which can restore our first love is God’s love. We cannot generate our love for God by ourselves. Instead, we must receive His love because our love for Him is actually the response of His love for us that we feel. Therefore, this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us (1 Jhn 4:10). We love God because He first loved us (1 Jhn 4:19). In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world and laid down His life on the cross for us while we were still sinners that we might live through Him (1 Jhn 3:16; 4;9; Rom 5:8). Thus, we must receive the revelation of God’s love at Calvary and the pouring out of this love in our heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5) in order to restore our first love for him.