First Loves // Revelation 2:4

Revelation 2:4, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

Today’s verse is one that always seems to convict me. Jesus was speaking to the church at Ephesus, proclaiming things they were doing well and things they we not. The essential message was how the church strayed from the commandment to do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:4). Ouch.

Can you relate to that dilemma? When was the last time you did the right thing but without the right motive? The Bible cautions us in those times stating that living without love is essentially motion without movement where even the best words we say sound like clanging gongs or clashing cymbals; in other words, we’re just noise in an already chaotic culture (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Jesus’ statement about neglecting the first love was about calling them to remember that we are only able to love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). It’s that love of God surging in and through us that enables our motives and motions to come alive, animating us with God colors we must share.

I always come back to playing guitar and leading worship as my first love. That is really the way I got into ministry. I played regularly in worship services, sang with my family, and led the youth group in sing-a-longs when I was just a teen. Then, when my ministry became more vocational, I still did the same thing, but at a deeper level. Playing my guitar and singing was a primary way I experienced God’s love so I could express it. Music is not my calling, however; that’s preaching and teaching. I tried leading worship as the primary musician in my first solo appointment, but both the music and message suffered. That showed me I needed to step back to focus on God’s design for my life. The main problem was I often strayed from music and I felt it in my soul. Now, whenever I have a chance to sing and play, it resonates within and reminds me not to neglect the love I had at first; namely, God, who loves me, gifted me with a love of music, and a spiritual gift of preaching and teaching. They all must work together.

Kristin Martz wrote, “We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there, too.” That is music for me, because it takes me back to how I first experienced God’s love and how I must express it now, even though the vehicle is a bit different. Where do you get lost in those first loves of your life? Do you find God there, but realize your calling to live now is manifest in a different manner? Don’t neglect that first love, but allow it to help God form, inform, and transform how He is calling you to live into your design to bless the world with the uniqueness that is you!