Return to Your First Love {Revelation 2:4 Bible Study}

Have you ever felt yourself slowly losing your passion for God and the things of God? Have you ever felt yourself going through the motions in your relationship with God without the same sense of passion and devotion that you once had before? If so, you are not alone; stay tuned because in today’s video, you will learn how to get your fire back. Enjoy!

 

One of my greatest prayers is always to maintain a passion for God and His Word. I also pray this for my children and my family because I know that operating out of a sincere desire for God is key to genuinely living for Him in this fallen world. This is why Proverbs 4:23 says:

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV)

We will have so many distractions and temptations clawing for our affection, but if our desire is for God, we will live a life for Him as well. At the same time, it’s those same desires that can lead us away from God. James 1:14 tells us:

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:14 NKJV)

It’s what’s in our heart that will either draw us away from God or draw us closer to Him. If you want to know how your relationship with God is doing, ask yourself, what do I want? What do I desire? What does my heart long after? 

We’ve heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words” and that’s very true, but your desires lead your actions. What do you want? Better yet, what do you love?

In Revelation 2:4, Jesus makes a statement about the believer's love for Him in the Church of Ephesus, which may have come off as a surprise. Although they did many good works for God, Christ charged them with forsaking or abandoning their first love. He says:

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4 NKJV)

Before Jesus charges the Church of Ephesus with forsaking love, He outlines all the good things they have done. They are hard-working, they persevere, they don’t tolerate wickedness which would have been prevalent, they had discernment to test and recognize false teachers when there would have been many, and on top of that, they endured persecution for their faith in Christ without growing weary.

They could overcome all the opposition surrounding them, but the issue was on the inside. 

The evil outside environment didn’t infiltrate their hearts, but the inner workings of the Holy Spirit didn’t stir either. That is the problem that Jesus had with them and it’s still the same problem He has with us today. We do all the right things for all the wrong reasons. We can do good works without being led by love. And that’s dangerous. 

So as we look at Revelation 2:1-7, we’ll learn:

  • 💔 4 Signs you’ve abandoned your first love.
  • ⚠️ Why it’s easy to forsake your love for God without realizing it.
  • ❤️‍🔥 How to return to your first love if you’ve lost it. 

But first, let’s discuss what it means to forsake your first love. Jesus refers to the love the church of Ephesus had when they originally accepted the Gospel truth and followed His way. It was a sincere desire to live for God out of love for God. It came from a revelation of their desperate need for God and His over the top love for them. But over time, that love motivation turned to duty motivation. Whenever you do something because you feel like you have to and not because you want to, you will lose the passion you started with. 

Here are some signs you have lost your first love and passion for God:

  • You don’t experience the awe and wonder you originally had about God and all that He’s done for you.
  • You are not as grateful for His grace and mercy as you once were.
  • You are more focused on works than relationship and intimacy.
  • You judge others more than you love them because you have forgotten the grace God has shown you.
  • You do things for God because you feel He will be mad at you if you don’t, and not out of love.

Now love being your motivation is key, no matter how holy you live. The Apsole Paul says it like this in 1 Corinthians 13:1-2:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-2 NKJV)

WHY WE FORSAKE OUR FIRST LOVE

The only way that we can truly love God with that first love type of love is that we remember God's grace and love for us. We forsake our first love when we forget our first love, so it's important that we check our motivation. Are we doing the right things for the right reason or are we doing it just because we feel like we have to? It's important that we check our hearts. Are we operating in love or are we operating in judgment? It's important that we check our passion. Are we excited because God is good? Are we hopeful because He's faithful? Are we humble because He's great?

When we forget God, who He is, and His love for us, we will always forsake our first love. This is why the first step that Jesus tells us to take to return to our first love is to remember

STEPS TO RETURN TO YOUR FIRST LOVE

In Revelation 2:5, Jesus says:

“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.” (Revelation 2:5 NKJV)

  1. Remember How Far You’ve Fallen

First, we are to remember how far we have fallen. This means remember how far you’ve come. Think back to your love for God at first and see how different it is now. What excited you about God that you don’t even think about now? Usually, we’re initially in awe of God’s great love for us in contrast to our great sin. The Apostle Paul called himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), not to feel bad about himself, but to magnify the perfect patience of God. After walking with God for a while, we can forget the forgiveness shown to us so that we can walk with Him in the first place. A first love is humble and remembers we can do nothing apart from God. 

  1. Repent

Second, Jesus tells us to repent. The challenge with becoming a legalist or someone doing good works for wrong reasons, is that it’s hard to see that we’re not right before God because we’re so focused on our outward works when God is looking at our inward heart. This is why, like David, we need to pray for God to search and clean our hearts.

It’s important to pray for God to reveal any ways we have turned from Him and then for the power and grace to turn back. That’s what it means to repent. It’s not just saying I’m sorry. It’s changing the direction you’re headed in. It’s recalibrating to ensure you’re headed in God’s direction. 

You know how sometimes when you’re using a GPS and you make a wrong turn and then it says “recalculating” to reroute you to ensure that you still end up at your desired destination? That's what we need to happen in our hearts for God. We need Him to reveal to us what wrong turns we've taken so that we can repent and turn and recalibrate to make sure we're still headed in His direction. 

Finally, Jesus tells us to do the work we did at first. Notice good works are still required. God wants both a good heart and good works. Returning to your first love isn't just an emotional experience. It's emotional, mental and embodied in the way that we live our lives and the good works that we do. Not all works are equal, but all that we do should be done for God. Colossians 3:23 says:

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Colossians 3:23 NKJV)

We’re not working trying to help God. We know He doesn’t need our help. So we don’t work out of a positon of duty but of devotion, to our one and true first love because He is worthy.

We can’t grow in our love for God without a revelation of His love for us, so be sure the check out this video where I share 7 signs God is showing you His love. 

For more encouragement, download my free Bible Study called “Worry-Free” to learn the 3 lies feeding your worry and the truth to set you free at belovedwomen.org. Thanks for watching, and until next time, be beautiful, be blessed, and beloved.