“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 lampstands. “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but 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 then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”
“Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.”
“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely hind, a graceful doe. Let her affection fill you at all times with delight, be infatuated always with her love.”
Yesterday we touched on how marriage is a representation of our relationship with Christ. We saw how Christ loves us passionately, knows us intimately and will care for us and protect us with his very life. We are his cherished, spiritual bride. We see Christ’s fervent love for us every day, in so many aspects of our lives, and we feel blessed. I have been married for twenty-eight wonderful years and baptized in my faith for twenty-seven. When I was first dating Ingrid I could not wait to see her, and when I had to leave I would get sick with the thought of having to be away. Ingrid too shared the same excitement and yearning to see me (I can see why) when we were dating. I still remember the joy of my wedding day and the day of my baptism (my spiritual marriage to Christ) very clearly; however, as we all know, time goes on. The passion of the early years can abate and familiarity, day-to-day life, children, job, health and various other stresses can cause us to take our relationship with our spouse for granted.
We can also become lukewarm in our spiritual relationship with Christ. The early years of studying the bible were exciting as I saw the plan and purpose God has for me. I could not get enough of God’s word. Over the years that sense of longing and thirst for knowledge slowly dissipated and was replaced (like the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation), with works, toil and administrative things. I found I could go through the motions but did not have that relationship with Him that I did when I first started. Who moved? I was the one who let it slip, who thought that working and doing was what was expected of me. I had minimized God in my life and replaced Him with the pursuit of works. I had allowed the flame to sputter and grow cold, forgetting the ‘devotion of my youth’. If my actions are done without love, “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and allknowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2,3).
May we re-kindle our love for God this day, and re-dedicate ourselves to love Him as He loves us. Let us try to be as Christ to those around us, and especially to our spouse.