Love is a choice and is shown in our actions
These letters from Jesus to the churches are a mixture of encouragement and challenge. And can apply to us as individuals and as a church now.
Ephesus was a massive city. The church there was a big example to the city and beyond. Sadly there is no church of people there today.
Lets get stuck right in. Right at the beginning of the letters we are reminded that these words are from Jesus. Jesus has seen their hard work, their patience and that they have found false apostles:
- Just like the Ephesians, Jesus sees what we do and understands what we face in life, nothing is a shock to Him
- We are reminded that when we face tough times we need to be patient
- And interestingly they had testedsome apostles and found them to be false
- So there were people who claimed to be followers of Jesus but actually weren’t. No different from today then! There are many people who call themselves Christians but are far from it. I would say the key word to look for when testing people is ‘follow’.
Only 3 verses in and we already have some good stuff to think on.
But the real gold is in what Jesus says next.
Jesus has praised them. Then he then challenges them:
I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first!
This would have been a punch to the stomach and totally winded them.
I have read books on this passage and listened to preaches and time and time again they say this means remembering the time we made the decision to follow Christ, regaining that love you had for Christ when you first made that decision. And I would agree its important for us to remember the first time we made that choice to follow Christ and if we have stopped following him then we need to get back on track. But there’s more to this scripture.
Jesus says ‘repent and do the works you did at first’. The early Christian church recognised something that we often miss. Love is a choice and that choice is shown in our actions. Love is something you do:
- Practical Help
- Reaching the poor, sick, hungry
- And more
At the time when the church was growing and when this was written, there were no groups that behaved like this. This kind of love reflects Gods love for them and was and still is a great advert for faith in God.
You see it’s easy to let things slip, to put our needs before others. Jesus is giving us all a wake up call here as individuals and churches.
People look to people and you can’t help that, ‘he says he’s a Christian then why does he swear and why is he treating her that way’. ‘She says she’s a Christian but why is it she is spreading horrible rumours or being mean to that person’.
I would say it’s because they have lost their first love, they have missed the point and , they have stopped following. If you ask them whether they are a Christian they would say it with their mouths but not in their actions.
For some of us we see this loss of first love in our friends, in our family, could be mum, dad, brother, sister, wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend. Don’t be put off by this, don’t allow the choices they have made affect your view of God and your relationship with God. I’m afraid you can’t change them, you are responsible for you. You can reflect the love of God to these people.
Jesus says remember how things were and get back on track. Have you lost your first love?
Jesus is our great example, he showed a love for Father God and out of that flowed a love for the world. To the point that it was shown in the act of giving His life up. Our love for Jesus motivates us to action, it changes the way we view life, view sin and view others.
To back this up even further Jesus was asked what the 2 greatest commandments were and he replied. Love the lord God with all your heart mind and soul and the other is to love your neighbour.
Our love for God, in other words our faith in God is shown by our actions.
Have I lost my first love’ and if the answer is yes then to take some time talking to God, say sorry and ask for help to start following him again. Allowing this choice of loving Jesus to be shown in the way you live your life.
Perhaps you are thinking yeah but I have never experienced it the first time round, well you can today. Take some time talking to God, tell him how you feel and how you want him to be a part of your life.
May we return to our first love, to a place where our choice to love is in line with our actions.