I often find the book of Revelation a bit confusing – but today it seems very clear to me. In today's reading, Jesus Christ commends the church at Ephesus for working hard, persevering, resisting sin, critically examining the claims of false apostles, and enduring hardships without becoming weary. These good works are the characteristics every church should have. But then, in 2:4, Christ indicates something much less commendable, "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love."
Is it possible in the battle to maintain sound teaching and good morals and to lose the loving spirit?
Of course, and today the same accusation can be leveled at some churches. Sure there is an eagerness for truth, there is continuous and persevering labor; but the intimate love for Jesus Christ is sometimes lacking. A church, a community, or a Christian can set an example with good deeds but still not have the love for Jesus Christ that must grow in the core of the being. Without growing love, these activities are in vain.
This concept of growing love is troubling. I mean think of a new relationship or your spouse. When you first meet the thrill is very high. The excitement is very high. You think about the other person all the time. However, when the relationship or marriage gets older, there is a tendency for these items to fade. In the same way, when we became new Christians we were excited and "fired up" to do God's work. We longed to find ways to show our love of Christ. But as our relationship with Christ has matured, there could be a tendency to let that excitement fade just a bit. Our love is not growing, it is stagnate at best.
The best way I know to grow this love is to be intimate again. Intimate with your spouse. Intimate with Christ. Recite the Jesus Creed, make a point of praying every day. Growing the love in our heart for Jesus will bring us closer to his will and help each of us understand his plan for us.