The summer study I'm participating in is on the 7 letters to the Churches in Revelation 1-3. It's David Jeremiah's lecture/sermon series and study guide material on it. It's flat out FASCINATING.
We are in week 2 - last week's message was on the Ephesian Church. It's hard to listen to Jesus tell a pretty darn good church they aren't so good. See, they'd forsaken Him. It's even harder to realize I'm guilty of the exact same thing.
I've been putting a very high value on sleep & rest over prayer and study lately. Yes, I have a medical reason for it but I have an even greater spiritual reason to make sure I get my time in with The Lord. I want to be consistent but I am not. It is a deep regret - one I know I am forgiven for and one also I know is being worked on in me (or I wouldn't be aware of it to begin with!)
Today, I did the study questions associated with last week's message and it focused on why the Ephesian church forgetting their love for Jesus (and each other) was such a serious offense.
It is a sin that is common, but in the word's of John Acuff ( ), something being common does not mean it is normal. Since we are designed with a God shaped hole and we will only be truly fulfilled when He is in there (thank you St. Augustine for your analogy there), being in a relationship with The Lord is what is supposed to be normal for us. But that is certainly not common for sure - even in my life as a Christian.
But what is really startling about this passage is not that the Ephesians lost their love for Christ/each other. It's the consequence if they continue down this path.
Revelation 2:5b details:
"If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place."
Uh oh - why would The Lord remove our ability to make a difference for His Kingdom? Why would He remove His power from us?
The fact of the matter is - He is a jealous God. He is an all-consuming fire. He is the only One worthy and righteous enough to be jealous. He doesn't want to share any part of us with anyone (or anything) else. And the principle Jesus lays out in Luke 14:25-33 reveals that. There is no in-between with God. We either love Him, or we hate Him. We either love someone (or something) or hate it. It's black and white. He is JEALOUS for Israel, His Church....for me.
It certainly puts a fine point on my Ephesian behavior lately.
For Jesus - it is all or nothing.
And that is what I want it to be for me too.
So, how do I start? The answer is the sentence before the warning. Revelation 2:5a says, "Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first."
Or, in the words of long ago shampoo bottles, Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
Get back the love you once had by remembering what it was like when you were on fire for The Lord. That's your soap. Scrub it in your heart and mind.
Rinse out the sin that has been there - be cleansed in spirit, mind and body.
Repeat the above steps as often as necessary.
I want to be jealous for Him too. So, I end by saying - Let it be Lord, Let it be.
(Stay tuned because I might have to add this to my list of dangerous prayers!)