I’d watched a movie about the end times that left me longing for a few answers. I grabbed my Bible and sat to read from the book of Revelation. In this apocalyptic, end-of-the-Bible book, John speaks of a vision from Christ that he received while on the island of Patmos. In this vision, Jesus unveils events yet to come – which, ultimately, echo His eternal love, power, and justice.
In chapter two, the words leapt from the page to my heart as Jesus spoke to the Church in Ephesus. His tone was heavy and serious, yet intimate, tender, and loving. Clearly this message was meant for Christians throughout history, not just the church of Ephesus. It was meant for me – and for you.
Jesus spoke to his church, “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. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:2-3 NIV).
While reading this, I sensed the Lord speaking to me. Personally…
I know you work hard, Gwen. I know you spend countless, thankless hours doing mundane tasks like laundry, running errands, vacuuming floors, cleaning toilets, preparing meals, and managing relationships. I know you’re exhausted and wish you were more productive. I know you serve at church. I know of your good intentions to spend quality time with me even though your often-inverted-priorities and distractions keep us from deeply connecting far too often…
His voice continued the heart-whispers as mine swelled…
I know ______ … I know ______ … I know ______ … I know YOU…
And I see.
I see what you’re doing for others. I see the pressure you’re under and care. I am fully aware of the pain you’ve endured and are enduring. I see your temptations and your struggles. I see all that you think is hidden.
I am El Roi.
I see you.
Your glances toward me are fleeting. Flippant. Casual. Less-than.
Your worship is often half-hearted… somewhat of an obligation. At times your service to Me is joyless and sterile – a going-through-the-motions of sorts. It should be a vibrant offering.
I am not an obligation.
I am GOD.
I am your Redeemer. I am your Savior. I am your Healer. I am your Strength. I am your Deliverer. I am your Comfort. I am your Portion. I am your Counselor. I am your Hope.
Overwhelmed and undone in His presence, I continued to read from the Word.
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:4-5a NIV).
Return to Me… your first love.
Do the things you did at first.
I grasped for memories that would take me there. I thought back to when I was more on fire… more driven by a white-hot, blazing love for Jesus.
When was I there – at the height of my love for God? What was I doing?
I wrestled and contemplated… and confessed… and bowed low in my heart.
When were YOU at the height of your love for God? What things were you doing?
THE CHARGE for each of us today is this: Do the things you did.
Return to your first love. Return to perfect love. To pure love. To holy, powerful, sacred, compassionate, everlasting, merciful, grace-filled, trust-worthy, faithful love. Return to Jesus.
Walk with Him. Talk with Him. Abide with Him. Seek Him.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says…” (Revelation 2:7 NKJV)
Dear Lord, Who am I that You are mindful of me? That You know me? That You see me? That You love me? I’m sorry for being a wandering worshiper. As I consider Your mercy, I confess these things: ______________. Draw me close, once again, with Your blood-stained grace and ignite an unquenchable fire of love deep within my heart, my soul, and my mind. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
What is one thing you did then that you can do today? Will you do it? If you accept this first-love charge, leave a comment telling me about “what you did then”, or simply say, “I will do the things I did!”
While you are in the comments section, take time to encourage and pray for one another.