October 15, 2010

How Does That Happen?

Revelation 2:1-7

“I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”
Revelation 2:4


It appears that the apostle Paul spent more time with the church in Ephesus than with any other (see Acts 19:8-10). He wrote the believers there a wonderful letter in which he prayed that they might “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Later Jesus said about that same church: “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance… You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name … Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”

Did Jesus mean that members of that church no longer loved each other or that they no longer loved him—or both? Did they love someone or something new? Jesus did not say that his love had abandoned them; that will never happen. But he said that this church set aside or discarded, their love.

How does it happen that an individual or a church stops loving the Savior who loves them so much? How long does it take?

Paul urges us to “put on love” every hour, every day, continually (see Colossians 3:14). And the love he has in mind is not our love but God’s love, Jesus’ love. Put his love on; live in and out of God’s love. Doing that, we won’t hear Jesus say to us what he sadly had to say to the church in Ephesus.

Dear Jesus, alert us if we begin to show signs of forsaking our love for you. May we make and keep your love central in our lives. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Stob

Rev. Harvey Stob and his wife, Audrey, served as missionaries in Argentina for eleven years. They then served churches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Harvey retired from full-time pastoral work in 2009. He and Audrey have three children and seven grandchildren.

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