To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.Revelation 2:1-4
The church in Ephesus was working hard and persevering under trial without growing weary. They are to be commended for doing what many churches do not in recognizing false teachings. Yet, Jesus calls them back to their first love. He implores them to “do the things you did at first“(Revelation 2:5).
This is one of the keys to deepening our relationship with Jesus. So often we must return to child-like faith–child-like dependence and trust in the Father. Kids live with a freedom and a joy that is often absent in adults. They live unafraid of what others will think of them in the moment. They enjoy giving love to and receiving love from their parents. If we want to take the next step in our journey with the Lord, it will often look like returning to what we did at first when we became a Christian.
So many people start their journey with the Lord excited, full of faith, spending time in God’s word, and spending abundant time in worship and prayer. Then life happens and we move away from these as if they are somehow less necessary as we grow in Christ.
But the reality is that triathlon athletes need more food not less. Body builders need more protein not less. The stronger we get the more fuel we need. The more elite athletes need not only more fuel but better fuel for their bodies. This same principle is true of us spiritually.
If we want to continue to grow in Christ as we get older, we need more time with Him, not less. We need more of God’s word, more time in prayer, more moments of worship, not less. It is striking how many so-called “mature” Christians don’t spend any time with the Lord. It is even more shocking how many ministers hardly have a prayer life, hardly read the word (unless they’re getting ready for a sermon) and only worship on Sundays. This is mostly true in America because the Church around the world knows it can’t afford to dabble in such foolishness.