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.
Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV)
As the week of camp wore on, I tried to figure out exactly what I needed to do to recover that lost sense of love. In verse five, I noticed that the church was supposed to return to the Lord and do the works that it had performed at first. While a little cross-referencing to the book of Ephesians might be in order to determine exactly what their specific actions may have been, I interpreted this a little differently for my own life.
While verses 4-5 seemed to be directed right at me as I read them and meditate(d) on them, verses 2-3 also seem to say a lot about my spirit:
I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. (NLT)
As I discussed this passage with a friend of mine (the same one who had jokingly mentioned how funny it would be if I hadn’t been saved), I came to the conclusion that there may in fact be very little that I needed to do to fix the problem of having lost my first love. In this passage, Christ almost seems to be issuing a warning that reveals the content of the heart within the Ephesian church. The only directives that Jesus provides are return to me and do the actions that you did at first.
I believe that some of those actions that they did at first are revealed within the first two verses. So, I decided (in that moment of discussion) that there may in fact be little that I needed to actually change. Perhaps I simply needed the warning that what I thought was okay within my heart was actually very much damaged. Then, as I continued on my walk, my awareness to this issue would start to draw me back to Him.
Perhaps then I would fall in love again.
I do think that there was a hint of truth in that assessment, but something else was also in order. In the NLT, verse 3 reads “You do not love me or each other as you did at first. As I have continued to ruminate on these verses and the message that God is speaking to me, it is very apparent that the love I have for other people is very much tied up in my love for the Creator.
Learning/remembering how to truly love others has become another key element to rediscovering my love for Christ. 1 John has started teaching me that all over again:
If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.
1 John 2:9-10
My heart needs to be constantly changing as I continue to rediscover my first love.