Jesus Christ praised the church in Ephesus for their works, labor, patience and perseverance (Revelation 2:1-3). But He warned, "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love" (Revelation 2:4).
Jesus also warned Christians in the end time, "Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12). This is in stark contrast to the true love Christ said would characterize His Church: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).
What is "first love," and how can seasoned Christians recapture it? How can we have the kind of love Jesus had and not let it grow cold? Here are some biblical tips.
A new Christian typically experiences a "first love" for the truth, eagerly studying God's Word. What we were learning was so exciting, we would burn the midnight oil to learn more. Christ says the Ephesians had begun with an excitement and love for truth, but internal betrayal and spiritual battles had eroded much of their enthusiasm.
So Christ told them, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works" (Revelation 2:5).
It is possible to recapture the first love. With prayer and study, the former love for God and His truths can be rekindled.
There was a time when David found he had drifted away from God. He no longer felt that former joy he'd had. He repented and fervently prayed, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit" (Psalm 51:12). David was reconciled with God, stirred up God's Spirit and went on to serve Him faithfully and zealously for the rest of his life.
If we return to a diligent study of the Scriptures and ask God to restore a spiritual hunger for His wonderful truths, God will hear and answer us (Matthew 7:7-8). Then as we study it will be like God is speaking directly to us, and we will be uplifted by the hope that has motivated the faithful down through the centuries. This love for the truth can help us not fall for the "lawlessness" that abounds in the end time (Matthew 24:12). Staying close to God and stirring up His Spirit will also help us avoid allowing the lawlessness of others to drag us down.
God wants us to continue assembling together and considering "one another in order to stir up love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24-25). Fellowshipping with God and our fellow Christians can help us keep our love from growing cold.
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