Amos 1:1-3:15; Revelation 2:1-17; Psalm 129:1-8; Proverbs 29:19-20
“You possess endurance and have tolerated many things. But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:3-5)
Perhaps as you read this some of you will be able to identify with me and will hopefully be encouraged. When I first came to know Jesus, I was so fantastically changed. I mean I hardly recognized myself. Previously I had been living out of two bags on the street, sleeping where I could, hustling just to make it. Even though I didn’t have a home or a vehicle, I could always find money for cigarettes and something to get high on. It’s amazing how we can live apart from reality. A falsehood becomes our identity and we get trapped on this one way street. Anyway, meanwhile back at the ranch…Jesus touched my heart, began the healing and deliverance process in my life and set me on this new path.
I did so well for about a year or so. I loved Jesus and was extremely grateful for all He had done for me. There was no shadow of doubt that He was real to me. I certainly had no power or desire to change myself the way He did. Yes, Jesus was real and His Word was alive. Every day it was showing me truth and guiding me. So what happened?
Somewhere down the line, I got caught in the trap of life and allowed the seed of the Word (my lifeline) to get choked out. (Matthew 13) Jesus restored my family, opened a door for employment and gave me a car. After a minute of being on my feet, I found that I wasn’t in my Word near as much. I started trimming down the time I was with my church family and started attending office functions where the party was a key. I became complacent and didn’t realize how much I had put my friend Jesus on the back burner.
Over a short period of time I couldn’t hear His voice as well. My thoughts became confused as I began to deal with loneliness and problems with my old ways of coping. Before I knew it I was partying again, being promiscuous and was so full of shame that I could scarcely hold my head up. “What a disappointment I must be to God,” the enemy of my soul would interject into my thoughts. So much so that I believed it fully and could not seem to get back up.
After a while of this I submitted to accountability and got myself back on track as far as you could tell on the outside but on the inside I struggled with whether what I had experienced with God was real. I knew it was, no way I could have done all that on my own, but was it, why didn’t it last? Why can’t I get back to that place, have I gone too far? The struggle was real.
One day I realized God was not through with me. I would think, “If it’s over for me then why would the Holy Spirit continue to convict me and speak to me.” Once I resolved that, the Lord gave me this scripture and I realized that I must return to my first love, and not just in “works.” I had to accept forgiveness for myself and do those things that brought me close to God in the first place. It’s been a journey. Don’t ever compromise like I did. It is simply not worth it. Always be faithful to Jesus. If you do backslide, be quick to repent and get back up.
I’ve been saved for many years now and I’ve noticed in myself and others that we can get caught up in doing the work of God and forget to love on the God of the work. It’s like getting caught up in the current. We don’t realize how quickly and far we’ve drifted from shore. The people in Ephesus, the church being spoken to, were guilty of this. They were strong, persisting believers, however, the Lord had a problem with them because they had strayed away from that personal relationship with Him.
If it’s all become about the work for you then it’s time to back up and spend some serious love and meditation time with Him. He appreciates what you do for Him but He’d really like relationship over rules and obedience more than our sacrifice. If your life has become a rigid religious practice it’s time to loosen your tie and go back to your first love.
God, I pray for those who are backslidden and struggling to get back up and I pray for those who have been faithful but have grown dull over time. I pray for a fresh revival in our spirits. Lord as we return to our first works of sitting in Your presence, talking to You and meditating on Your Word waiting for You to speak, please honor that and spark our holy romance with You. Looking forward to an exciting new era in Christ, in the name of Jesus I pray, amen.