“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4-5, ESV)
Having grown up in the Church I find it difficult to pinpoint when I first believed. I was raised to believe. It’s really the only way I know how to live.
Looking back on 27 years of marriage—I have to be honest—I don’t do the things that I did when my wife and I tied the knot. I’m sure that there are a dozen reasons as to why that is, but not a single one of them is valid.
Similarly, in my Christian walk, I don’t always do the things that were so prevalent when I became serious about my relationship with Jesus: the hours I spent praying and reading the Word, the way I was generous with my time and money, the sacrifices I was willing to make to bring others to faith. All of those things are important throughout the life of a Christian. There is no valid reason not to do them.
Some things are easier than others to continue. Each and every one of us has giftings, strengths and weaknesses. If we were raised to be generous, if that was a lifestyle we were accustomed to, we will likely be generous whether or not we become Christians. It is simply a part of who we are. But some things are more difficult, for one reason or another, for us to cling to. It takes day-by-day, moment-by-moment discipline to continually live our lives as we lived when our love for Jesus was new.
In John’s Revelation Jesus says, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” His petition is that we constantly remind ourselves of “the way we were” with Him when everything was brand new. And not just remember, He wants us to refresh the love we have for Him by doing the things which engendered that love in the beginning.
Then comes the shocking and difficult part of the passage: “If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” As I read this, I can’t help but understand it to mean that we must do whatever is necessary to keep our love for Him fresh and strong or we risk everything. It’s hard to hear. While we are not saved by works, but by faith, works are important! They always have been, and they always will be.
We come empty handed, but we cannot remain thus. Everything we do is either an offering to God or a tribute to our former lives.
Let’s take some time this week and think back to our first Love. Remember what it was like when our faith in Christ was brand new. Mindfully engage that memory, and dissect it. Find again the passion that was so beautifully present then.
These are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!