Revelation 2 : 1 - 5, "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent. NKJV
The word for today is very important because it addresses a serious issue that is pervasive in the body of Christ. The day and hour that we’re living in shows us that the same issue Jesus addressed in Ephesus is still around in today’s churches. The believers at Ephesus were commended by Jesus for being persistent, patient, and hard workers in the fight for their faith in Christ. Nevertheless, they allowed the battle to harden their hearts, and, as a result, left their First love, Jesus. In other words, the good fight of faith continued to be fought, but their love for Jesus greatly diminished due to the fight.
I recently heard of a couple whose daughter was murdered, and her body wasn’t found for several months. This couple stood together in faith and fought to believe that one day her remains would be found, and they could find closure at her memorial. Finally, that day came, and her remains were discovered. However, after this horrific ordeal, the couple got a divorce. The fight for their daughter and to see the perpetrator come to justice completely exhausted the parents. They had nothing else in them to give.
I heard a preacher many years ago touch on a subject that puzzled him for years. He wondered why married couples who incurred a long term illness of one of the spouses would stay together during the hardship, but after the battle was won, the spouse who had faithfully stood by the side of the sick spouse would just up and leave.
As humans, who happen to also have faith in Jesus, it’s easy for us to become weary and poured out when we have to endure long term trials and afflictions. For example, look at the trial of Job; it lasted for many months. However, it wasn’t just the length of the trial that was hard; it was also the intensity of the emotional and physical pain he had to endure. Nevertheless, Job didn’t walk away from God after the affliction had ended.
Why do some believers endure and remain, while others pack their bags and leave their marriage, children, church, career, etc.? Jesus gives us the answer in today’s passage. He told them to remember from where they had fallen. Did you know that fighting the good fight of faith can cause you to fall from having a strong love for Jesus? Many who walked with Jesus left Him after their love was challenged. So, what is the answer that we need to prevent us from walking away from the Lord, our spouse, our children, etc.?
2 Chronicles 20 : 15 - 19, And he said, "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you." And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with voices loud and high. NKJV
The KEY to remaining in love with Jesus, in other words, not having our love diminish is found in our worship. In the context, the Lord told King Jehoshaphat that the battle didn’t belong to them; it belonged to God. In this story, the Holy Spirit shows us how to let God fight for us through our worship. In worship, we keep ourselves from taking ownership of the battle and from becoming hurt and cold toward God because we feel alone in the battle. In John 4, Jesus told the woman at the well that God seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Has your love for the Lord grown cold because of recent trials or afflictions?
Are you hurt and angry at God today? Do you feel distanced from the presence of God? If so, then somewhere along the way, you’ve taken the good fight of faith personally. Even though you may not feel like it, you must begin to praise and worship the LOVER of your soul. As you do this, the Lord will give you joy for mourning, and beauty for ashes. He will give you a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that is holding you down. Begin praising your way out of this and see the salvation of the Lord.
Praising My Way to Victory,
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery