Revelations 2:4-5 (AMP) But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent.
Before I get really into this I want you to know, we cannot earn God’s love. We cannot earn our salvation. However, we can lose sight of what He has called us to do. We will replace it with political views, standing up for injustice or chasing after bettering our gifts and talents (whether in the church or in the corporate world).
This week we had another mass shooting. Another? Yes. According to Axios.com, there have been 38 U.S. mass shootings (four or more victims) in March of this year alone. At least 57 people have been killed and 133 have been injured. BBC news reports that there have been 131 mass shootings in the United States so far this year. The number for last year was 647. When news broke out about the shootings this week I read comments from both sides about their agendas. The one that broke by heart was the one that said they deserved it because of their Christian beliefs. Neither extremes are right. What happens when we get so focused on rightness? Let us look ahead in this part of Revelations for the context.
Revelations 2:1-5 (AMP) ‘I know your deeds and your toil, and your patient endurance, and that you cannot tolerate those who are evil, and have tested and critically appraised those who call themselves apostles (special messengers, personally chosen representatives, of Christ), and [in fact] are not, and have found them to be liars and impostors; and [I know that] you [who believe] are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and that you have not grown weary [of being faithful to the truth]. But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent.
Here the people were standing up to the truth of the Word. They did not depart from the truth and accept any revelation that was being presented by them. This the way we should be. We should be standing on the truth of His Word and not compromising. What we have failed at is the love part! Did they not love God? That is not the first love that He was talking about.
John 13:34 (AMP) I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another.
Acts 26:20 (AMP) but I openly proclaimed first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent [change their inner self—their old way of thinking] and turn to God, doing deeds and living lives which are consistent with repentance.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (AMP) Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God].
In the Amplified Version of the Bible, the word love is often followed by unselfish concern and seeking the best for one another. The word repentance is not be ashamed, it is to surrender. Christ lived a life of surrender. In Christ we now are joined with Him. We are a new creation, because our spirit man has become awakened. New life can now come. A new way of doing things can be done. I have a new purpose. My purpose is now the ministry of reconciliation. My message should be restoration. I should see everyone as needing restoration. I cannot do that if I do not have the commandment of Jesus in front of me. We are to love one another. I am to love those with different view points of mine. I do not have to accept them, but I do have to desire restoration for them. Why are we fighting to change view points when I do not want to see them restored?
My heart breaks when I read that we would rather calamity fall on another group of people because of their views. That is not love! That is not standing up for what is right!!
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (AMP) Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
Love does not rejoice when others are hurting!! I have been wronged by people. I have myself wronged others. I have been wronged by church people, but I would never wish harm on them. I would never celebrate and say “God don’t like ugly.” God is love. Even in their wrong, God still loves them. My prayer is they make it right with the Father, whether they make it right with me or not. I have to walk in forgiveness, whether they asked for it or not. I am not to repeat a suffered wrong (which is slander by the way). I am not to suede others into choosing sides. I am to point to the truth, the truth of God’s Word. That tells me that I am to love, just as He loved. That is the work. In order for me to love as He loved, I need to be focused on the ministry of reconciliation. My focus will be on Christ for myself and for others. Do I have a stance on political views and on injustice? Yes. However, they should not be louder than the desire for my first love. As a reminder: these letters and warnings were given to the church (those in Christ).
Father, You are full of grace and mercy, but You are also the final Judge. Thank You for sending Your Son to show us how to love. I never want to be one of those that You say did not go back to their first love. I repent for not making Your love what I am known for. You are the One who fights my battles, but that never gives me an excuse not to love. Help me keep an unselfish concern for those that need Your reconciliation. Open my eyes and keep a pure heart within me that I do not lose that first love. I thank You that You are taking care of and putting things in place to up-heed injustice. I thank You that I have answered the call, and along with others, to be the hands and feet to deliver those from such injustice. I will not hide or put my lamp stand under so others cannot find the light. Your heart has always been restoration. Thank You for including me and calling me into Your hearts desire. I choose forgiveness today. I choose love today. I choose hope today. Lead me to love more as I walk in my calling, as a minister of reconciliation. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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