On May 16th, 2015 my life changed forever when I walked down the aisle to marry my sweet husband and best friend. I had waited years for this day and dreamt of what our wedding and marriage would look like. During our first few months of marriage, all I wanted to do was spend every second of my time with Drew. First thing when we woke up, as soon as we got home from work, and every minute before we went to bed I wanted to have long conversations, learn more about what makes him himself, and just simply be in his presence. I couldn’t get enough of my husband because marriage was new and exciting!
Our relationship with Christ is similar. When we sit in the presence of our sweet Savior, we begin desiring to constantly pursue and learn more of our relationship with Him. Unfortunately, it’s all too true that eventually we find distractions pulling us away. We switch out our priorities for things of this world, and we focus our mind on ourselves and our fleshly desires instead of the goodness of our Jesus.
Once we stray, we have to return to our first love: the love of Christ. Returning to the love of Christ restores a deep spiritual hunger that only Christ can satisfy. When we receive Christ, we experience the delight of the Lord, and this specific relationship brings joy and freedom. Open up to Revelation 2:1-7 as we look into Christ’s message to the Ephesians regarding their love for Him and the warning we should also heed as we struggle with our swaying affections for Him.
A Call to Remember
John wrote the apocalyptic book of Revelation to seven churches. In chapter 2, he specifies that it is Christ speaking to the church of Ephesus. Ephesus was a church that Paul originally founded (Acts 18) and spent three years at preaching, preparing, and training the people to continue the church. They were blessed by so much spiritual light; yet, they were a church with a problem. Jesus warns them that they have fallen and have left their first love.
So what is “ﬁrst love,” spiritually speaking? It is the passion we first experienced upon realizing what God the Father has done for us in Christ that we do not deserve and could never earn by our own human merits. It’s embracing His beauty. It’s realizing our need for God and our response of following Him wherever He might lead. It’s simply the joy in coming to understand the fullness of the gospel.
One of the worst human habits is forgetting to remember! We all do it. We forget to remember our keys, important appointments, or to put on deodorant. But we have got to remember the truths of whose we are and what Christ has saved us from! Hebrews 10:32, says, “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated…” God is telling us, “Go back to your days before Me. Remember where we started together. Remember when life was void of purpose. Remember when you surrendered your life to Me, and I said I would be your God and you would be My child. I said I would never leave you nor forsake you. And I’m still here. I’m waiting. I always will. I love you, I care about you. I saved you, and you are mine!”
A Choice to Repent
When we look into verses 1-3, we see that Ephesus was a busy church with patient endurance. They stood up for the Gospel, separated themselves from the world, and persevered in the face of opposition. Outwardly, the church of Ephesus had it all together; inwardly, they were facing war.
They were a saved and serving people, but their motives for service were wrong. They were serving and living for Christ, but only for position, reputation, duty, and out of fear. We do the same thing though! We get so caught up in how we look to an audience that we wind up doing the things Scripture calls us to do in vain because it’s not an overflow of our love for Christ. Do you remember when you first came to know Christ? You couldn’t get enough of Him, wanting to spend all of your day in His Word learning and growing, wanting to shout from the mountains about how good He is so that everyone can experience His love? Sadly, as time passes, we find ourselves making more time for other things. Some of which are even good things. But, when we allow those other things to overcome our authentic relationship with Christ, we are missing the point and substituting actions and appearance for a genuine love. He expects us to repent of our living without loving Him. Intimacy with God doesn’t come from religious fortitude; it comes from an authentic engagement with God. Revelation 2:1 reminds us that He “holds the seven stars in His right hand” as He “walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands”—referring symbolically to His presence and care in the midst of His Church. He knows exactly where we are and the spiritual condition of our heart. He wants to empower us to grow and lean on Him through the Holy Spirit. It’s a part of the Christian experience to fall in love again and again with a repentant heart and with the same God so we can love Him more intimately than ever before.
A Contingency for Reward
In verse 7, Jesus speaks to the overcomer who will seek the Lord’s face, fall in love with Him again and be restored to a place of intimacy and fellowship. There is restoration of this love when we run toward the deep place of engaging God, needing Him, wanting Him, and enjoying Him. There is restoration when we become a desperately committed Christian. I loved spending time with my hubby then. And even though life is busy now, I make the time to simply be near him, and it is so rewarding. I still learn new things, and my love just grows. The same is true of our relationship with our heavenly Father. There is a sweet reward of eternal life, blessing and fellowship with our King for us to enjoy. That leads us to ask: Are we experiencing longing and desperation throughout our days, or are we mildly satisfied with life? We are designed to hunger spiritually and to be lavished with the love of Christ. We long for a romance with God, but sometimes we are too tired, realistic, or skeptical to accept one. He woos us, He goes after us, and He strongly pursues us with a longing for an intimate love. If your love affair with God has waned, then it’s not on His end, but yours. He is patiently waiting for you to return to sit at His feet in worship, to pursue Him through His Word, and to love Him with your everything. When we return to our first love, our lives will look different. So girls, get ready for revival and a renewed heart!
Father, will You allure me to Your presence? I have forsaken You as my first love. Will You draw me near to you, creating a clean heart and renewing a steadfast and committed spirit within me? Restore me to the joy of Your salvation; uphold me in Your righteous arms. Let Your love pour over my heart and begin a revival in my life.
Spirit Hunger by Gari Meacham