Jesus rebukes the church at Ephesus for leaving their first love and settling for Christian activity. Although they were fulfilling all the external requirements of Christianity, they were missing something fundamental. They no longer loved God with their whole hearts.
Guarding Our Hearts
When we are in love, we will do anything to be with the person who has captured our heart. In fact, we not only long to be with them but also would literally do anything for them. Many of us begin our relationship with God like this. Overwhelmed with a revelation of his love, grace, and mercy, there is nothing that we wouldn’t do to try to please him. Our earnest desire is to be with him and become like him.
Yet it is only by continually strengthening our spiritual heart muscle that we will be able to sustain this kind of passionate commitment to God for the duration of our Christian walk. In the same way that a natural relationship left alone will just fizzle out and eventually die, so too will our relationship with God.
In order to ensure that our love for God will not grow cold, we must proactively “keep [our] heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). If we do not guard this core muscle, it will begin to weaken, and the very things that we once did wholeheartedly will eventually become nothing more than religious burdens.
If we want the life of God to flow freely within our hearts, we must never allow anything to hinder the passion that we have for the Lord and his people. If we fail to care for our spiritual heart and neglect its health, we will never possess the spiritual strength we need to love God with all our hearts. Jesus taught us, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). By guarding our spiritual hearts, we ensure that the enemy has no access and is therefore unable to steal the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.
Point to Ponder
Does your spiritual life lack passion? Do you feel like you are just going through the motions of being a Christian? If so, it’s possible that you have left your first love. This doesn’t happen all at once. But gradually we let the cares of life crowd out the joy of our salvation. The good news is that you don’t have to stay there. Jesus told the Christians at Ephesus to go back and recapture those loving feelings. You can too.