Revelation 2:4-5 “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”
Devotion: ‘There is nothing more precious than the Presence of God.’
How many of us would agree with this statement?
Dear friend, I don’t ask this to invoke feelings of shame or guilt or of falling short but only to stir up our hearts and minds to consider that which we hold most dear in our lives.
I know that, for myself, the Presence of God has not always been the most precious thing in my life.
There are so many things in this world that constantly compete for my affection, my attention, and my devotion. People I cherish, material possessions, hopes, dreams, achievements… they all compete for that first place in my heart.
For it is ultimately about our hearts – it is about what we love. We value that which we love.
So, if we loved the Presence of God more than anything in the world, it would follow that it would be the most precious thing to us.
It turns out that loving God more than anything is also God’s deepest desire, concern, and commandment for us.
In Matthew 22:37, Jesus tells the Pharisees that the first and greatest commandment is to ‘“love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.”’
Then, again, in His letter to the Ephesian church in Revelation 2, Jesus Christ issued a stern warning after praising them for their hard work and endurance in the face of persecution.
He says this: ‘“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”’
The Ephesian church had lost its sincere and deep love for Christ. They had allowed other things to displace Him from having the first place and pre-eminence in their hearts.
One commentator said, “We need to consider the chain reaction of forsaking our love for Christ. Fading love for Christ is the forerunner of spiritual apathy. Apathy is the forerunner to loving something else. And love for something else means competing priorities with Christ, which leads to compromise with the world and corruption, ultimately resulting in judgement.”
Dear friend, it’s not that we permanently intentionally displace Jesus from first place in our hearts. Much of the time, it’s that we don’t intentionally fan our love for Jesus into greater flames. A chain reaction begins, leading to other things competing for our affection and devotion.
So, what’s the remedy?
Christ’s answer to us is simply this: “Repent.”
How weighty, but oh, how beautiful!
Jesus is not calling us to pay penitence, to punish ourselves for our fading love, nor to discard everything else we hold dear.
No, Beloved, He just calls us to come back to Him. We just need to turn around and run, heart-first and pounding in our chest, straight back to Him.
We need only come back and say to our Lord and Love, “I want YOU to have the first place in my heart. Take first place in my heart, Lord Jesus.”
Dear friend, let us return to our First Love today and every day from now on. Let us return to deepest communion with Him. Let us fan our love for Him back into flame. Let us choose Him first and above all else.
May our greatest preoccupation in this life be with God’s true nature and knowing Him and loving Him more daily.
Consider where you might be along the chain reaction today. Whichever point you’re at, you can turn back to Jesus. Will you return to Him today?
- Fading love turning into spiritual apathy.
- Spiritual apathy turning into loving something else.
- Loving something else turning into competing priorities with Christ.
Oh Lord, I turn back to You today. I’m running, heart first, back into Your arms today. Lord Jesus, I repent. How it weighs heavy on my heart that I have abandoned my First Love. Lord, I repent. I am so sorry for not intentionally fanning my love for You into greater flames. I am so sorry for allowing other things to take first place in my life and in my heart. I come back to You today. Please help me to love You more and to keep You as my First Love always. I love You, Lord. Truly, I do.
In Jesus’ most precious name, amen.
Pray for your church today. Pray for their hearts to feel an intense desire for Jesus. Pray that they would keep Him as their First Love always.