Some like to call it backsliding. Sometimes it is simply open rebellion. For some, it can be a steady indifference brought on by a weak commitment. Jesus calls it “having fallen.”
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus gives His approval to the Ephesian church, a fantastic church by today’s standards, and yet He says:
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4)
As he was preaching on this text, my pastor Dr. Dennis Brunet summed this up as simply not loving Jesus like we used to. How does that happen? Obviously someone “backslidden” doesn’t love Jesus like he or she used to, but I think it’s more prevalent than that.
Regular church-goers suffer the most from this. We get into “holy ruts” doing the church-thing, performing in the choir, teaching Sunday school, working in the nursery, or volunteering with kids’ church and we forget to worship Jesus out of a pure love for Him.
When we backslide, we are in rebellion. We have become self-absorbed with making ourselves feel good and “living the good life” we seem to think the church forbids. Solomon described it thusly:
“The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.” (Proverbs 14:14)
Getting into a holy rut may not lead to a dissatisfaction with the Lord, but it can lead to seeking fulfillment in service rather than Whom we serve. This will eventually lead to an indifference that the Christian can sense but not identify. Jesus described it as having “left your first love.” Our Lord does provide the remedy:
“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.” (Revelation 2:5)
Of course Jesus is instructing a corporate body of believers, but the application to us individually is available. What happens when a lampstand is removed? Its light is removed and that is what Jesus was warning against. The Ephesian church was in danger of losing its light, even if it was doing the things Jesus applauded them for in Revelation 2:2-3.
A Christian who has stopped remembering what our walk with the Lord was like when we began is in danger of losing his or her light. We need to go back to how it all began; intentional prayer and Bible reading. Fellowshipping and serving to bring glory to God.
While we are all susceptible to this falling away, the way to return is through repentance. Whether it is sin or neglect that caused us to fall away, we must return to intentional communion with God. Our heart must desire our first love, and then we can seek to regain the precious fellowship we so desperately desired when we first came to Christ.
You know what happens then? What we so long for our rebellious nation: revival. A Great Awakening awaits the church in America if only she will remember from where she’s fallen and return to her first love. Our nation’s cry needs to become that of Asaph’s:
“Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” (Psalm 80:3)
This isn’t going to happen like a tidal wave coming ashore, although God could do it. However, it normally happens as Tim Timmons describes in his song, “Starts With Me”:
“I really wanna change the world
I really wanna sing Your song
But I know revival’s got to start with me”
That is how it will happen.
It will start with you.
It will start with me.
It will start with loving Jesus like I used to.
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Copyright © 2018 David Jeffers