Revelation 2:4-5 (ESV)
4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to love? So often, we tie love to an emotion. This is right, but not nearly right enough. Often, I, in my teaching, tie love to a commitment to another’s good. Again, that is right, but something in this passage reminds me that even this is not enough.
As Jesus speaks his words of rebuke to the church at Ephesus, he comments on the fact that they have forsaken their first love. Clearly, this church is supposed to love God, and they are failing to do so. Even though they are properly theologically vetting false teachers, the love of the Ephesians is lacking.
And that would lead me to assume that love here is about the emotion one feels for God and one’s personal sense of commitment to God were it not for the picture of repentance in verse 5. Jesus told them to return to doing “the works” they did at first.
Love works. Love, the genuine emotion which is born of a genuine commitment to the good of another always takes action. Love does not sit still, unchanged. Love does not ignore the commands of God. Love acts. Love moves. Love changes you. Love leads to obedience. Love, like genuine faith, works.
So, as we face the Christmas season, perhaps now is a good time to ask yourself if your proclaimed love of Jesus during this season is resulting in genuine, God-honoring, Scripture-commanded works. Note that getting theology right is not enough here, as the Ephesians had that in spades—neither can getting theology right be ignored. But the love of God includes personal repentance, worship, and obedience to the commands of God.
Christian, what would it look like for you to love God in action? What commands of God’s word are you ignoring as you live in comfort? What has God clearly said in print that we are supposed to be about doing that you have not been up to? How can a genuine love for the Savior lead you to action?