Our First Love

Day 6 of Jesus, I Need You – Part 1, a study of Thistlebend Ministries

Scripture Reading: Revelation 2:7

Anyone who has an ear to hear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.

Revelation 2:7 HCSB
Observation: What’s the Message?

John is writing what Jesus has given him to say. This particular letter is being written to the Ephesian Church. So the word “anyone”, in verse 1, is referring to those who are part of the body of Christ. If they listen to the message being delivered they will be entitled to the “victor’s” prize, which is eating from the tree of life, located in heaven.

Here’s the thing though, if we only read this verse we know that there’s an amazing prize and we know that we need to listen to the Spirit, but without looking back we would miss the content of the message. Which was basically an evaluation of the Ephesian Church. Jesus acknowledges that their conduct has basically been above reproach. He commends them for their work and endurance, their unwillingness to tolerate “evil people”, their faithfulness in examining and calling out false “apostles”, and enduring hardships for the name of Jesus – without growing weary. Awesome accolades for sure! BUT … He goes on to tell them what He has against them and why. Namely, that they have abandoned their ‘first love’ – meaning Him. In other words they were rule followers but their love for Jesus had grown cold. One commentary I read explained it like this, “Sound doctrine and service are important, but they should be grounded in a deep love for Jesus.” The charge or challenge that would draw the victor’s prize wasn’t just listening to the Spirit but considering the truth of the charge against them, then repenting and returning to their first love. To ignore the charge would be to invite punishment that would extinguish their light as a church and witness for Jesus.

Sound doctrine and service are important, but they should be grounded in a deep love for Jesus.

 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.  Revelations 2:1-5
Application: How Then Should We Live?

Through John’s writing, Jesus lays out the application very clearly. LOVE JESUS and follow His teachings. It’s not an either or proposition. When we love Him we will obey Him (John 14:15) and if we simply follow the rules without devotedly loving Him the acts of obedience mean very little.

Prayer: Response to The Word

Father, may we never abandon Jesus, our first Love. Where and when it dares to grow stale and cold, like the Church of Ephesus, please send a revival fire, keep our light burning strong, and renew a right Spirit within us. – Oh, let us listen to the Spirit that we might run the race with endurance and win the victor’s prize – and in this may You be glorified! – Amen

Want More?

Go Deeper with Thistlebend’s devotional post

Your Turn:
  • What’s your take away from today’s Scripture reading?
  • What are some things we can do to keep our love for Jesus fresh and strong?
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[…] – the one we find in Matthew 11:15 which is nearly the same as what we previously read in Revelation 2:7. Both passages call us to listen to what’s being said. We’ve seen it twice already in […]