At the Altar


But I have this against you that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Revelation 2:4

As Jesus spoke to the church in Ephesus He began by listing all the great things about them. They had been faithful, worked hard, held up under persecution and had stayed away from false teachers. Sounds like the best church in town! But then Jesus brings up the burden of His heart; they have left their first love for Him.

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It might seem to us that He is being hard on them, but the Bible tells us that we are the bride of Jesus Christ. As Heaven’s bridegroom, He is waiting at the altar in heaven and His heart is a longing to be with His bride. But sometimes when He looks down the aisle He notices that something is changing. His bride’s heart who once loved spending time in His presence is now very busy. She still thinks from time to time of Him, but she is also quite involved in a lot of other things. So many things seem so important that her schedule is full with only a few moments left for Jesus.

Then He looks and sees His people not only too busy for Him, but also too busy to bother much about telling others about their need for Him. His heart is longing to see us again totally living for him. What will it take for us to go back to our first love? How will we ever return to where we once were? Jesus tells us clearly. He does not say; “Feel really bad and cry and pray.” He does not add, “Give some more money to the church.” He doesn’t even say, “Go out and start feeding folks at the soup kitchen.”  All of those things are only a pale substitute for the “First Love” that Jesus has in mind.

So if giving money, doing good works or crying at the altar doesn’t bring back our first love, what will? Jesus says; do what we did at the beginning. Did we used to ask forgiveness of people we had hurt? Let’s do that again. Did we once call friends and family to tell them how Jesus changed our lives? Let’s not give up. Have we taken risks to get out and talk to others we came across in our daily lives about their need for him? Let’s get back to work!

Jesus didn’t say to wait for an impulse, a tear or a leading; nor do I need to do what you once did. I only need to remember what I once did, and then do it again! Jesus has given each of us a candle and it shines so we can see the truth about ourselves and repent.

That word repentance sounds harsh, but it is our bridegroom’s heartfelt appeal for us to remember the treasure of our relationship with Him. He warns us if we won’t use the light we will lose it. But if we repent and return to our first love He promises that at the altar He will give us fruit from the tree of life! 

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