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Thou Hast Lost Thy First Love

by W. Robert Heid

RobertHeidTo the first of the seven church s in Revelation, the church at Ephesus, the Lord gave this serious indictment, Though it is listed as their single fault, it is a most serious indictment. Classed as having fallen, the Lord admonished them to return to the former blessedness by the path of repentance and doing again the first works. They had started well, but basic changes soon came along that robbed them totally of the blessings of their first love. And what all is involved in this descriptive term, “first love?” First let us consider the human concept.

MUST THE HONEYMOON END?

In the realm of Christian society, perhaps there is no time of life so cherished as of the “newly-weds.” Marriage, in its proper setting, is the culmination of searching, discovery, courtship, fascination, devotion, promise, acceptance, commitment, vows, and total union of two God-selected people. The consummation is the experience of total giving, receiving, and joining, till death do us part. And what is the best part of it all is that two young minds that have already found their compatibility are now bound so closely together as to become
one, with all of the glorious potential for good that is wrapped up in the human mind capability, When you “look across the breakfast table” you see a companion and partner in the great present and eternal glory that God has made available to mankind. Here is one who is now “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh,” and the ability to develop the mind and the memory, with all of its aims and goals and experiences and memories is an unending part of development and our service to God.

Marriages where there is no mental growth and fulfillment can lay the blame at shallowness and a materialistic mindset, whereas mental fulfillment thrives on thoughts about “His kingdom and His righteousness.” All of our lives tend to revolve around some center, and we must stay aware of what that center is. Is it joy, or success, or pleasure or affluence? These are all good, but they are insufficient.

Truly, Christ is the center-the everything, the “all.” To some couples, children have become the center, but as noble as this may seem, it is marked for failure. We simply cannot do our best for children if we are not first committed, and- willing to commit them, to Christ Jesus. How can we tell them who should be Lord of their lives, if He has not been made Lord of ours?

 FORGIVENESS

Many times “the honeymoon is over” when one of the mates falls into some grievous sin. We hear cries of “I would never have believed it,” or “it will never be the same again,” or “I could never forget that,” or “It is more than I am able to forgive.” Without the help of God, this will certainly be true. But God is a God of forgiveness.  That is His nature, and we might say that is His specialty. We who are born of God have the ability and the injunction to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Jesus plainly said, “if ye forgive not men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will not forgive you.” This is serious business. At the best, we all have a whole array of things against us that must continually be forgiven, and our Lord is busy doing just that. That is why John could say, “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us (continuous action) from all sin.”  If it seems hard to forgive, ask God in prayer to help you see yourself in the light of His holiness. Then you and I will be able to say with Isaiah, “woe is me for I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips …. And mine eyes have seen Jehovah of Hosts“; or say with Job, “but now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” If God dealt with us the way Satan prods us to deal with our fellows, the whole of mankind would end up in hell.

Don’t think that it is any mark of weakness to forgive-it is a mark of Godlikeness. It is an assurance of better things ahead, and that His Spirit is indeed dwelling within. Personally, we can never forgive too much. Jesus said, “until seventy times seven,” which was tantamount to “don’t stop to count.”

WITH REFERENCE TO CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

Paul said that the mystery of the oneness in marriage was great, but it was an adequate symbol of Christ and the church. Jesus said that the church at Ephesus had lost its first love. Their honeymoon was over. They were plodding along and patiently enduring for His name’s sake, but evidently not enjoying it. Like many today,  they were church-centered rather than Christ-centered. They were more concerned about the bride than about their Bridegroom. Their thoughts were more for the doing and less for the loving. Day after day their orientation was leading them farther from the glorious place where they had begun. They were falling-yea, had already fallen!

But their case was not at all hopeless. In each of the letters to the seven churches, the Lord Jesus offered a remedy. To Ephesus it was “remember whence (from where) you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” Else, their candlestick would be removed. The light that was to be shed to others would black out.

In human marriages, this answer is also the same, if we would make the application. Those first works need to be recovered. That light needs to shine, beginning at home.

                     Reprinted from Word and Work Magazine January, 1986




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10