I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first. Revelation 2:2-5.
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God says:
Do you have joy? Or does your joy seem to have evaporated from your life? It may be you have left your first love.
The church at Ephesus had not turned to other gods nor were they sinning, in fact My Son praised them that they had perseverance and endured hardships for the sake of the Name of Jesus. They were doing good deeds and persevering, and they were not tolerating other gospels or evil men. But they were toiling and had grown weary in what they saw as serving Me. But My Son, after praising their loyalty, told them He had something against them. This probably surprised them since they thought they were serving Him. But My Son told them that they had left their first love.
Love, first love, does not see serving for the one loved as toil. Do you recall Jacob served Laban for Rachel seven years and to him it seemed but a few days because of his love for her? Genesis 29:20. He would have battled armies and climbed the highest mountains for her and considered it nothing compared to the prize of life with Rachel. He would have counted it pure joy.
The first believers in My Son as their Lord and the Way after I had raised Him from the dead and He had ascended back to His place at My right hand suffered persecution but they were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52.
Paul went through extreme difficulties and trials to preach the Gospel of grace but he was overflowing with joy in all his afflictions. 2 Corinthians 7:4. And he was content with any circumstance, whether it was abundance or lack, praise or criticism. Philippians 4:11-13. He considered all that he once thought of value as rubbish in the light knowing and gaining Jesus. Philippians 3:7-9. Kind of sounds like Jacob serving for knowing and gaining Rachel. Love, first love.
Paul wrote that he had suffered the loss of all things to gain Christ. Philippians 3:8. But he said that seemed like no loss at all to him but only gain. Philippians 3:7-14. It was his love for Christ (“the love of Christ compels us, 2 Corinthians 5:14) that made what would have been a heavy burden light and made what seemed bitter, sweet. For he later explained, “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3. Love never fails.
Was it his love for Christ? No, knowing of Christ’s love for him made him love Christ with such a joyous love. He told you that when he wrote, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 3:20. And he prayed that you too would know that love: “that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19.
It was knowing of My love for him as expressed in Jesus that gave Paul such joy and dedication to Me. And he knew nothing would be able to separate him from My love, which is in Christ Jesus. My love for you finds its expression at the cross. That is how much I love you; I gave My Son for you that you might never perish but have abundant life.
As John, who called himself the beloved disciple, wrote, “we have come to know and believe in the love God has for us.” For love consists in this, not that you have loved Me but that I have loved you and gave My Son as propitiation for your sins. And John never lost his first love from the foot of the Cross to his exile on Patmos and beyond. My Son’s joy was in him and his joy was complete to overflowing. John 15:11. No trial or affliction could separate him from that love. And he lived in the supernatural. He may have been exiled to a cave on the deserted island of Patmos but that cave turned into a door straight into heavenly glory where he saw the things to come and he saw Jesus in all His glory as God.
And love does that. Love makes life exciting. It does not turn it into toil.
So what was the secret of the first believers that they could not help but be filled with joy just as much when all went wrong as when all went right? If you are basing your joy on your circumstances, you have not learned what Paul did so that he was content in whatever circumstance he was in. Philippians 4:11. And you must admit he was in a shipwreck, he was in prison in chains, he was stoned and beaten, bitten by a snake, and rejected by his own people. And he called all these “momentary light afflictions” that were producing an eternal weight of glory for him that was far beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:17.
So what did the early believers do that you do not? What kept their joy so high? Read what they did, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe. . . day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God.” Acts 2: 41-17.
Do you see? They listened to good preaching of the Word as the apostles revealed Jesus to them and His love (which made their hearts burn with joy as it did when My Son opened Scriptures to the disciples on the road to Emmaus). They stayed in fellowship with one another, not isolating themselves, but meeting together in large and small groups both in the temple and in their homes. Do not forsake assembling together and encouraging one another to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:23-25. It is a joy to fellowship and share the Word and communion with other believers. It is not good for you to be alone. And they took communion daily. When you eat My Son’s body and drink His blood in the bread and the wine, He abides in you and you in Him. And He is filled with joy—anointed with the oil of gladness. And His anointing will anoint you.
And they prayed. Do you really give Me a chance to speak into your life? Or are you so caught up in the affairs of the day that somehow you never spend any time in prayer? In My Word?
That could be the main reason your joy is gone. It could be the main reason you have lost the excitement of your first love. Consider this, when do a husband and wife find their first love growing cold and on its way to dying out? When they stop spending time together and become like strangers in the same house. They are so occupied with their jobs, earning money, their hobbies, their co-workers, their friends, raising the children, watching TV, doing the chores, and reading the newspaper that they forget about each other and never really share their hearts or listen to one another. And they lose the relationship they once had. They suddenly find life toilsome and loyalty is not from the heart but forced because the excitement of first love, when they could not spend enough time together and nothing seemed burdensome that was for the other, is gone. And it only got lost because they did not maintain the bond of fellowship and they lost the awareness of the other’s love for them.
Return to Me. Let Me again take you into My banquet hall where My banner over you is love. Song of Songs 2:4. I have not changed. I never lose My first love for you. You will note that I speak of My love for you as the bridegroom for the bride. That is first love. And I never see you any other way. Each morning My mercies are new. I am always doing something new and fresh. Like the manna. And My love for you is better than wine. Song of Songs 1:2. Greatly have I loved you and it will never lessen. For My love is stronger than death and many waters cannot quench it nor rivers overflow it. Song of Songs 8:7-8. Come drink from My river of delight. Psalm 36:8.
Come to the water if you are thirsty, for with joy you will draw water from the spring of Yeshuah (salvation, Jesus). Isaiah 12. Come share My joy. And the only place you will find this refreshment is in prayer time with Me. Only one thing is necessary, with Mary choose the better part and the rest will follow. Spend time at the feet of Jesus each day in fellowship in My Word and let the glory fill your life.
And joy will follow.
There is fullness of joy in My presence. Joy is not gone. You have just forgotten to fellowship with it.
Remember: listen to anointed preaching of the gospel of grace that shows you Jesus in the Old and New Testament; fellowship with other like-minded believers (those who are into My Word), read the Bible and let the Word dwell in your richly (let Me speak into your life and change your barren desert into a fertile garden), and take communion daily. And make sure you discern the body of My Son for your healing and restoration when you receive.
And be thankful with a sense of awe in all that is coming and has taken place in My eternal plan of salvation.
Happy will you be if you do all these things. And do not forget the happiness of serving others in their needs.
Maybe you are thinking too much about yourself and have not fixed your eyes on Jesus and on how you can bring the good news of Him into the lives of everyone you encounter.
Find your first love again. It is not hard. Just spend some time with Me and let Me tell you great and mighty things you could not know. But above all, let Me tell you of My great and everlasting love for you. Love will give you joy unspeakable filled with glory.
I love you. And it is first love forever.