"You Have Left Your First Love"
The Ephesian church has come to represent the churches in each age and generation who have comprehended, and continue to comprehend the unsearchable riches of Christ; and who are experientially walking in the light they have. However, this is also the church to whom the Lord says, 'I have this against you, you have left your first love. Repent ... or else I will remove your candlestick from out of its place' (Revelation 2:4-5).
We are convinced that this warning, "You have left your first love," is first and foremost speaking of the fact that our personal interests have, or they are about to, become intermingled with our love, devotion, and commitment to the Lord. In a message about David's mighty men, T. Austin-Sparks puts it this way. "We occupy ourselves much with the proclamation of these two things - that the Lord Jesus in Himself personally has won our heart's allegiance, and also that we have come to see that He is the One Whom God has chosen for the place of supreme authority throughout this universe unto the ages of the ages; and we are committed to the Lord, not for merely personal reasons. If we were, when a giant loomed up we should very quickly be off the scene; the test, you see, is that. The Lord is really working very hard with us to try and woo us from our personal interests in Christianity, and in our personal interests in our relationship with Him; because, when things which touch us here on this earth and in our personal lives are threatened, we very often lose faith. We go down, we scatter spiritually, in the presence of an uprising threat to our interests here, even though we are Christians related to the Lord. We have to brush aside the consideration of how it affects us, and take a position in the interests of the Lord. It is a very testing and very important thing. We must say, 'It does not matter how it affects me, but how is the Lord going to suffer over this? What does the Lord stand to lose if I flee, or if this thing gains the ascendency? How is it going to affect my Lord and to touch the great fact of His throne?
Let us ask ourselves, 'Are we involved in the ministry of the throne, or do our personal interests keep us earthbound? We can discover how effective we are in this warfare through our prayers by taking note of the following:
Many years ago in a meeting held in England just before World War II was about to sweep across the world, Watchman Nee expressed in prayer the meaning of having Christ as our "first love." Japan had invaded China, and his country was in the beginnings of a devastating war, but this is the way he prayed as he sat with a Japanese speaker on the platform (Mr Nee was Chinese); the war havoc in China was fresh in everyone's mind, and when his turn came he led the meting in intercession for the Far East in terms that to many of us back there in the 'thirties were a revelation. It was a prayer that, few who were privileged to be present forgot. "The Lord reigns: we affirm it boldly. Our Lord Jesus Christ is reigning, and He is Lord of all; nothing can touch His authority. It is spiritual forces to destroy His interests in China and Japan. Therefore we do not pray for China, we do not pray for Japan, but we pray for the interests of Thy Son in China and Japan. We do not blame any men, for they are only tools in the hand of Thine enemy. We stand for Thy will. Shatter, O Lord, the kingdom of darkness, for the persecutions of Thy Church are wounding Thee. Amen"
I would like to say that the above prayer for China and Japan, should be changed, in this day, to America and the world. What a wonderful prayer! "Not for us, dear Lord, but for Thy own glory!!" Isn't that putting God (our first LOVE) first? I am now praying this prayer myself!