Listen to a recording of the article, “Is Jesus your first love?” read by the author.
“You have left your first love”
Jesus, through the Apostle John, wrote a letter to the angel of
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Revelation 2:2-4.
So, regardless of all of his good works, they weren’t enough, because he had left his first love – that love for Jesus that had been born in his heart when he first believed.
What is “first love?”
A first love means a love that comes before all others: the greatest love.
Greater than our love for:
- Our family
- Our friends
Even when we love and serve and give for others, our love for Jesus has to come before any of that, so that we can love them with a divine love. That’s why Jesus said:
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My.” Luke 14:26.
To love Jesus is to keep His commandments. (John 14:15) That’s why if anything – our own desires, or our relationships with others – would tempt us to break any of His commandments, having a first love will cause us to put Him before all else and choose to do the good. That’s why Jesus uses such a strong word as hate. It’s a hatred for anything that would cause usagainst Him.
When we have this first love, then we do everything for Jesus’ sake. We don’t do good and choose right out of a sense of duty, and neither do we do it to get honor ourselves. We do it for one reason alone, and that is for Jesus.
Also read: Is Christ really the ruler of your heart?
First love: Doing things for the right reasons
We can easily be zealous to do good works, especially when it concerns the outward ministry, for the wrong reasons. We have to judge ourselves continually and cleanse out any lust for honor for ourselves; any desire to have a good name with people. Then we can remain in our first love for Jesus, and all that we do will be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14)
We can easily be influenced to do things according to what our friends and family say and think. We are concerned with what they might think if we do this or that, or we let human reasoning and opinions convince us away from keeping the commandments of Christ. To remain in a first love means we weigh our actions on one scale only, and that is the Word of God.
The first love for Christ drives us to seek to be conformed to His image and learn to act and react as He would. (Romans 8:29) Then the fruit of the Spirit becomes our nature and we learn love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Then our actions are a blessing and an example, and we can show people divine love. When Jesus is our first consideration then relationships can flourish because all that we do is free from the persuasion of sin and self-seeking. First our relationship with the Father and the Son, and then too ourrelationships.
A letter from Jesus
What would Jesus say if He wrote a letter to you? Would He be able to commend your love for Him or would you, like the angel of the church of Ephesus, need to be chastised to “… remember therefore from where you have fallen;and do the first works?” (Revelation 2:5) To have this first love and to be enthusiastic to do all things for His sake when we first give our heart to Jesus is great. But to remain in that love throughout all of the situations of life, throughout our whole lives, without growing weary, and without seeking our own, is what leads to eternal life.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21.
You may be interested in reading more on our Relationship with Jesus theme page, or in the following: