From Devotion to Duty
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars.” - (Revelation 2:2)
The apostle Paul had warned the elders of the church at Ephesus, “I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following” - (Acts 20:29–30).
Apparently the elders had done a good job of keeping the wolves at bay and equipping the sheep, because Jesus said, “I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting” (Revelation 2:2–3).
But despite these great qualities, there was a problem—a very subtle one. But Jesus, who walks in the midst of the church, identified it and told them the truth: they no longer loved Him as they once did. They had left their first love.
Jesus did not tell them they lost their first love. You don’t lose it; you leave it. If you lose something, you don’t know where it is. Hence, it is lost. I lose stuff all of the time. But leaving is different. If I leave something, I know where it is. Therefore, I can come back to it. If I lose something, however, I don’t know where it is.
So Jesus said to the Ephesian church, “You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” (verse 4).
What does this mean? Their devotion had turned to duty. They had motion, but they lost the emotion. They had substituted labor for love and work for worship and perspiration for inspiration. These Ephesians believers had been so busy maintaining their separation, they were neglecting their adoration.
Summary sentence: Is your walk more about devotion or duty?
Tags: devotion, first love, inspiration
Copyright © 2012 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Watch Greg Laurie's weekly television broadcast on LightSource.com.
Your gift today, whatever the size, will bring the gospel to people through Harvest America and the outreach efforts of Harvest.
In appreciation for your gift of investment today, you can receive both Hope for America and a companion resource titled Pray America Prayer Journal. The only way America can really experience a spiritual awakening is through prayer, so this prayer journal makes a great companion piece to Hope for America. It was written by my wife, Cathe, and I know that it will help you get started in praying for your country, for yourself, and for those around you.