Rekindling Our First Love (Part 2)
By bro Joel Lee
If we have indeed lost our first love, what do we need to do? Is there a need to rekindle the old flame, to re-ignite our first love? Well, I believe there are two reasons to do so.
Firstly, there is a need to rekindle our first love for God because it affects our testimony to the world. Turn with me to Rev 2:5.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
Notice the warning issued in the second part of the verse – I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place. What does this mean? To better understand this, one needs to go back to the Old Testament, to the time when God gave instructions on how the tabernacle was to be constructed in Exodus. Turn with me to Exodus 25:31.
31 “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece.
The lampstand was to be made of pure gold, hammered out to the perfect accuracy of God’s decree, and the purpose of the lampstand in the tabernacle was to give forth light day and night. (Exodus 27:20-21)
20 “And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. 21 In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.
From Rev 1:20, we understand that the lampstand represents a church—"the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches." And indeed, just like the lampstand, the church is meant to be a source of light. Hence, what John is essentially saying is that if the church at Ephesus failed to return to their first love, they would cease to function as a lampstand because Jesus, being the true source of light, would withdraw his presence. As such, the church would no longer be the light of the world. As we know, one of the most effective forms of evangelism is preaching through example. Each Christian is an ambassador for Christ. When we become less passionate, when we become less dedicated to God and His work, it diminishes the light we show to the world and it diminishes our testimony of Christ to the world, both as individual Christians and as the church/congregation as a whole.
Secondly, we need to rekindle our first love because a lack of passion or enthusiasm for God’s work affects our service to God. When we lack passion, we end up performing duties in a mechanical and lackadaisical manner, and this will be reflected in our behavior, our body language, and our attitude. It not only matters what we do but how we do it as well. Perhaps the Ephesian church was thinking, "We've weeded out false teachers, overcome persecutions, and continued to labour in the Lord; surely that must be enough." Yet, notice what Paul says in 1 Cor 13:1-3
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body [a]to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing
Paul plainly says that it is for naught if one does not have love. For our service toward God to matter, for our service to have meaning, we need to have love as the underlying motivation for all that we do. That is why Paul says in 1 Cor 16:14
14 Let all that you do be done with love.
Indeed, our love for God not only gives purpose to our labour in His vineyard but enhances our acts of service to Him. Thus, the second reason we need to rekindle our first love for God is that doing so is essential to our work in His kingdom.