“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lamp stands, say this: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.'” – Revelation 2:1
Those of us in full-time ministry often have couples show up looking for guidance when their marriages are on the rocks. We hear comments like, “I just don’t love him anymore,” or “The spark is gone,” or “My feelings are dead.”
Guess what? It didn’t happen overnight. A marriage falls into trouble because gradually, over time, the husband and wife stop prioritizing one another as their most important human relationship here on this earth. When that happens, their love can grow cold. One of the things that both Anne and I have learned to ask as we counsel folks struggling in their marriage is to remember what caused them to fall in love in the first place. The responses are always amazing.
It’s really quite similar in our relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s very rare that we suddenly rebel against God, wanting to have nothing to do with Him anymore. What tends to happen is over time, often subtly, we begin to drift away from God. He begins to no longer be the priority of our lives as other priorities creep in. Our hearts begin to grow cold towards the Lord. When that occurs, we find ourselves leaving the One who should be our first love – Jesus Christ.
Obviously, many of the reasons for leaving our first love, Jesus Christ, are well intended. But sometimes, good things cause us to neglect the best thing: good things like family, a job, or even our ministries. I really believe that perhaps the biggest temptation for anyone who serves in Christian ministry is to begin to confuse their ministry with their relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, what could more important than doing the work of the Lord? It’s a constant temptation.
Nothing and no one is to come before our relationship with Jesus Christ. If you feel as though you’ve wandered away from faith, the starting point is confessing it. Then ask God to help you remember the moment you first gave your life to Jesus.