Toiling Like An Ephesian – 174

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We are looking at Jesus’ letter to the Ephesians,  Rev 2:1-7. They were working really hard to do all the right things, to get it right for Jesus. But their toils has worn them out. And Jesus told them why: they had left their first love.

Their first love? That’s God’s love for us, not our love for God. The Ephesians had somehow lost sight of His gracious love for them.“This is agape love, not that we loved God but that He loved us.” 1 Jn 4:10. Abiding in this agape love is how we are meant to live. But in a world that has always stressed performance and achievement, our personal best every time; it is not easy. 

If you were to ask the Ephesians if they loved Jesus, they would say, “Of course. Look at all we are doing for Him. Look at our labors – our toil – our perservance – our zero tolerance policy for bad doctrine.” Do you see, my friend? They were trying to PROVE their love for God, when all the while God simply wanted them to receive HIS LOVE. They had forgotten.… If it happened to them it can happen to any of us. So Jesus helps them with direct words.

“Remember!” He says. Remember the love of God that we experienced when we first met Jesus. Remember the Lord and His love for us, His grace, His mercies. Then repent. CHANGE direction: do what we did at first. And what was that? Sit at the feet of Jesus and receive His love.

That is not to say we should not work. There are two kinds of work. One is like the apostle Paul’s work.  Paul’s labor was a response to the love of God. 2 Cor 5:14. The other is the Ephesians’ work that wears a person out. The church might tell us through hard work we prove our love to God, prove our obedience, our willingness to sacrifice and in doing so we maintain our good standing with God, but that is not true; that is a Grace-less message!

Jesus is not pushing us to perform more, He wants us to rest – in him. Can you see that? Today, how about we trade in our performance for Jesus – to rest in Jesus. Make the trade – and COME ALIVE!

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