By David R. Ferguson
I want to ask you a question: Do you still have a passionate love of Christ, and a burning desire to serve Him? I hope and I pray that you do, but if you don’t, you are not the first to experience this paralyzing lack of happiness in God.
In the First Century we learn of a congregation of Christians like this. The church in Ephesus seemed to be doing well. It would be hard to find anyone who would deny that by all outward appearances it was a great church, a model church even. It was a church which seemed to be on the move for God. But as always, Jesus could read their thoughts. He knew what was going on underneath the surface. After commending the church at Ephesus concerning their patient endurance, intolerance of evil, suffering for Christ’s name, and exposing false apostles, Jesus confronted them. Because what He saw saddened Him because He knew they had a problem. They had a MAJOR problem. And what Jesus identified was that the people in the congregation at Ephesus had lost their passionate love for Him. Yes, they were doing lots of good things, but they were missing the most important thing of all: they no longer had a growing love for Jesus.
Jesus told the church at Ephesus, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first” (Revelation 2:5). Remember that it’s all about loving Him. Remember how much He loves you. Remember how He died for you – while He was hanging on the Cross, you were on His mind. When He was being scourged you were on His mind. When He gave up Heaven and came to the Earth you were on His mind. Remember how it used to be with you and Jesus, and how excited you felt when your sins were forgiven. And repent now for letting other things take first place in your heart, instead of letting God occupy that position. Turn from your selfishness and self-centeredness and start seeking the Lord like you used to … with newness, freshness, and tremendous gratitude for His love and grace and mercy.
What was taking place at Ephesus was no idle matter with the Lord. It was of such importance that Jesus threatened to remove their lampstand if they continued to slide down the hill that He warned about during His Earthly ministry: “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13).
Remember, “we love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Fill your heart everyday with His great love for you, and you will grow in your love for Him.
- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or firstname.lastname@example.org