Looking at the Lord’s warning to the church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:4), the Ephesians are a model of cooled-down faith. Their fervor is gone, though they’re still going through the motions of serving God and even defending the faith.
Christ’s warning to the Ephesians extends to modern-day believers whose hearts have grown cold. He looks at distracted and complacent Christians who are laboring for every reason but the right one, and He cries out, “What I want is not your empty service; I want you!”
The heart cools gradually as a person gives higher priority to other relationships and activities than to the Lord. Our enemy Satan has subtly shaped how the word “idol” is perceived. He’s limited the definition to false gods. The truth is, anything that distracts from God qualifies as an idol. For example, the god of this age is sports. So many believers know more about stats than Scripture and show more passion in the stands than in a worship service.
Returning to a life of passionate service for God begins with repentance. We must assume responsibility for drifting away from our first love. Then, we’re to put Jesus Christ back on the throne of our heart and reconnect with Him through regular prayer and Bible meditation.
God desires an intimate relationship with every believer. So let me ask you a question: Are you excited about Jesus? Our best and purest devotion will be to whatever or whomever we prioritize above all else. If that is not Jesus, repent and let Him rekindle the flame of your first love.
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It’s a fine line we tread as parents. Our inclination is to always rush in and rescue, when in fact, God is chastising our sons and our daughters in the same way He disciplined us so that they become totally His! We are but stewards of their lives until they awaken to the age of reckoning and become responsible for their own decisions. Even at my age, I am still learning to stay out of the middle and just let God, but it is the hardest part of my parenting that I wish I could just skip altogether!
The Living Word has a couple of old Kingdom Proverbs that have given me courage and hope throughout my life: “We ignore the cries of our prophets in travail”1 and “We don’t mind if our bones and muscles ache if tonight we stand on higher ground.”2 These two statements have sustained me through some of the roughest potholes in my journey through life, but I know that travail and dying to oneself is a necessity in order for us to gain the purity and the sanctification as true Sons of God. “For if I have been crucified with Christ, then I have been identified with His death on the cross and the life which I now live in the flesh, not the life which I long to live and pray to live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh, the life which all men can see, I live by the faith of the Son of God.”3
1, 2 The Creed of the Prophets, by John Robert Stevens, The Living Word
3 My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. March 21 Daily Devotional: INTEREST OR IDENTIFICATION?