Friday, October 28, 2011

Forsaken

Jesus charges the church at Ephesus with having left their first love, or forsaking their first love. This is a serious charge against a member of matrimony. After all, many of us answered before God and company, "I do," when asked, “Do you, _____, take _____ to be your wedded wife/husband ... forsaking all others ... for as long as you both shall live?”
We vowed to forsake all others, and now Jesus is accusing his bride of forsaking first love instead.


The Greek word here is Aphiemi and it means to send away as in a divorce, to depart, to go to another place, to abandon.
Jesus is saying, "I see you doing all the right things on the outside, but I know your heart’s not in it. It's as if you heart has divorced me."


This sounds vaguely reminiscent of the part of the sermon on the mount when Jesus purports that merely looking at a woman with lust is committing adultery in the heart. He's redefining faithful love to include the inward motive as well as the outward action. 




The situation's bleak, and remember -- all those marriage duties are tiring without the motivation of first love, so Jesus, in his mercy, gives them the path back. It's a familiar path because it leads us back to a place we've been before.  "Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." (Revelation 2:5) 


~ Compare where you are now to where you were at the beginning. Remember the old feelings. 
~ Repent (a change of mind that causes a change in direction). This is a decisions, not a feeling.
~ Then do what you used to do. Note that Jesus doesn't say feel the things you did at first, but do them.


This may seem like a contradiction -- do the things you don't feel to get the old feelings to return even though Jesus recognizes that you've already been doing all the right things to the point of exhaustion. But Jesus is not calling for more doing of the flat obligation kind that was duly noted at the beginning of his letter to them. This doing is the kind you used to do, the kind that seeks to win affections. It's a pursuit of the heart. The difference is subtle, but you know the way, because you've done it before and it worked for you the first time. You know you can do it.


Take Home:  Are you forsaking all others or forsaking your first love?
Are you willing to do the things you did at first?

Photos of ruins in Antigua, Guatemala, November 2008

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