I noticed something “new” today in a passage that I have become very familiar with over the years. This passage is Revelation 2:1–7 and it is a letter to the church at Ephesus. Check it out:
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lamp-stands.
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp-stand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
There are a lot of things going on this passage. These two sentences jumped off the page, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”
In my circles the phrase, “you have abandoned the love you had at first” gets thrown around and discussed often. It really preaches. What grabbed me by the heart today was “repent, and do the works you did at first.”
Protestants, in particular, are wary of works based righteousness. We, I believe rightly, want to make sure that everyone is clear that redemption is a work initiated by God, sustained by God, and completed by God. However, we often do so at the expense of acting in love.
James writes, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” I am growing in awareness that love is a verb. If we say we love God then our actions must align with this belief.
The church of Ephesus had right belief. They are commended for standing true theologically. Yet, they had abandoned their love because they had apparently abandoned the good works that they had done at first. To repent meant to return to the good works that demonstrated their love of God.
Jesus told his disciples, “They will know you by your love.” I am left wondering, do I love well? Is this loved expressed through my deeds? Does my life demonstrate love with action and not just words? Does yours?
from The Subversive Journey https://danielmrose.com/love-is-a-verb-dff72071f774?source=rss—-bbc765b79ec5—4