Saturday, October 23, 2010

The First Works

Have you ever read a verse that you've read many, many times before, and suddenly it leaps off the page and speaks directly to something in your life right that moment? I've been memorizing and thinking about the first two chapters of Revelation over the last month or so, and I've found it fascinating... although wondering how it should be applied. One of the passages that has intrigued me is Christ's message to the church at Ephesus. A church that had been laboring for Christ, seeking truth, and waiting for Christ's return, but had forgotten their first love. I've thought about the "first love" a lot, wondering what exactly I needed to learn from it. "First", in the greek, seemed to mean "foremost". So did that mean their love for Christ? Their love for the other saints? Their willingness to forgive?

The other day, though, it was applied to my heart in another way. As I thought over my schedule and my priorities and my "to-do" list, the words of verses 4 and 5 came to my heart, "Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." If there is one thing that I struggle with it is diligence. I have grand ideas that flow like water, but staying on course with the "first love" that I had for a project is very difficult for me. However, the Lord has given me some projects that require that staying quality, and, while I might still be fulfilling my responsibilities in them, the "first love" can be lacking. His instruction for that is to "remember" what it was like at first, "repent" - or turn completely around from what you are doing now, and "do the first works" - the things that you were doing at first, when your motives were correct and your fellowship with the Lord was sweet and unhindered. This can apply to so many things in our lives! From our housekeeping, to our marriage, to the projects we have surrounding us. If we know that we had a peaceful home and heart at peace with the Lord while doing the 28 day challenge, but now we feel upset and everything is upside down, what has changed? Which of the "first works" are we not doing? Are we still having a daily quiet time? Have we neglected some daily tasks? Are we operating on an emergency basis, rather than with a plan? How about our marriage? When we were first married that "first love" showed itself in many ways - often sacrificing our own pleasure for the one we loved so dearly. Is that still your attitude? Are you doing the first works? As for our projects and outside ministries, are they still (or were they ever?) done out of love for the Lord and for others or have they become stale? What "first works" are you no longer doing because the joy is gone and it is now a drudgery? So often we feel disappointed that God does not seem to be blessing in an area of our life, and yet we do not come to grips with the fact that our neglect, our pride, or our unwillingness to change has barred his blessing and may result in our losing the very ministry He's given us.

I hope that you will join me in taking time to look carefully at your life this week, asking the Lord to point out an area that needs improvement. Then remember, repent, and do the first works, depending on the Lord for His grace and supply.

1 comment:

The Queen Mommy said...

Great post, Tricia - and it's no accident I'm reading it today... Thanks for writing this and encouraging me to step back and take a look at those really critical FIRST things.