Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. (Revelation 2:4)
Falling Out Of Love With God
Love is a many splendored thing or at least was popularized by the movie of the same name in 1955. Andy Williams and the Four Aces continued to make the song popular. While love can be viewed as a splendid thing, it is defined by what a person does with that love. Saying one loves another is an important step to building a relationship but love is found in action, not just words. Love is a deeper emotion than just liking a person. To like another is to share in common pursuits on a casual basis but love is a bond that cements two hearts into one with devotion, care, fidelity, commitment, and allegiance. It is important in marriage to be friends but marriage is deeper when love is at the root of all feelings. This is especially true with the relationship with God.
It is easy to like God and to view Him as a friend. This does not require any commitment or allegiance. Having a friendship with God likes various aspects of His character but never obligates the individual to a mutual commitment of devotion. Many people are friends of God but never grow to love Him. Sometimes, relationships blossom with passionate love but wane in time to be two people living in the same house. Friendship takes over and while the relationship is civil, there is little or no true love. The trouble with many in the church is they are more comfortable being friends of God rather than having a deeply devoted love for Him.
What little is known about the church in Ephesus comes from the writings of Luke, Paul, and John. Luke describes the history of the church in the Acts of the apostles, Paul writes a wonderful letter to the saints at Ephesus and John’s revelation reveals the church had gone through many changes over the years. The beginning of the Ephesian church was filled with great promise and hope. Paul spent three years working with the people of God in this great city and there were many saved through the preaching of the gospel. The letter of Ephesians is a treatise on the majesty of the church and character of kingdom citizens. In the final book of the Bible, Jesus commends the saints in Ephesus for their work, their labor, and patience in defending the cause of Christ. They had preserved through difficult times and were to be commended. However, the church had lost something over the years that threatened its existence. The church at Ephesus had fallen out of love with the Lord.
There is no doubt the church was doing all the right things in the right way. It was evident they were a working group, laboring mightily in the work of the kingdom and withstanding all those who would oppose the teachings of Christ. While these were commendable traits, what they lacked was the love they once had. The Lord challenged them because of their lack of love. Sometimes in marriage, love will decline and grow tired. Two people live together in the same place but have little or no interest in the other. This can happen to the people of God. They can like God and obey His commandments but have no real love for Him. Their hearts are filled with the world and they have a greater interest in worldly matters than spiritual.
Love must be cultivated daily. Devotion for the Lord does not come by osmosis but constant effort to learn more, grow more and love more. It must be continually built upon through a heart of seeking the love of God. It is easy to fall out of love with the Lord when the spiritual becomes routine. Leaving the first love is forgetting the grace of God and His mercy. Regaining love comes from committing the spirit once again to knowing, understanding and longing to draw closer to God. The more deposits made into the divine love bank, the greater the dividends received from the Lord. Never let love diminish and never allow love to grow stale. It is unacceptable to leave the first love experienced in the family of God. Let love grow more and more and draw closer to God every day.