"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 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. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."
— Revelation 2:1-7(NIV)
What is "first love" in God’s eyes? It is the love that first brought you to God. It is the love you experienced when you saw the cross as it really was. It was when you realized that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed for your sin and you were overwhelmed with his amazing love.
So you became a child of God and experienced his forgiveness. That’s first love.
This is a letter to a church in a city called Ephesus. It had been a great church, but now Ephesus had lost its first love for Jesus. If losing your "first love" can happen to the church at Ephesus, it can happen with you or me.
I don’t imagine the church forsaking their first love happened in 24 hours. It wasn’t that just one day they decided not to love God any more. It was a gradual thing. People who used to pray a lot gradually stopped praying. People who may have been giving a lot gradually stopped giving. People who used to witness to the lost gradually stopped witnessing. Until finally, when Jesus looks at this church, he says, "This I have against you. You have forsaken your first love."
I recently celebrated 20 years of surrendering my life to Christ on Oct. 19. I am still very much in love with Jesus and serve him with my whole heart. However, I must constantly do self-examination to see how far I’ve drifted from when I first believed. My prayer has always been that my walk with Christ would be sincere.
Revelation 2:5: "Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." To regain that first love, you must make a commitment to change – you must repent. You must "return to your first love."
Ferrell is pastor of True Worship Praise Center and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.