Revelation 2:4-5 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
This is an excellent lesson in how God’s perspective is different from ours. The church in Ephesus was one of the “mega churches” of the day, and they seemed to have it all together. They had good programs and good theology. However, Jesus says that doesn’t cut it. We can do all the right things, but if we don’t do them out of love for God and love for our neighbor, they are worthless. This is a profound illustration of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. God sees our hearts and knows why we do things. However much we might be able to fool society around us, we can’t fool God. In His eyes, someone who might seem to be doing very little, yet who is doing whatever they do for the right reasons, is far more to be commended than someone who is doing a great deal, but for the wrong reasons. The problem is, we have become experts in fooling even ourselves as to what our motives are. We need to be humble before the Lord and let the Holy Spirit shine in our hearts, exposing all the deceptions and allowing us to repent. God isn’t “out to get us,” but He will not be fooled, and He desires pure hearts more than anything else. After all, our hearts are going to spend eternity with Him; our bodies are strictly secondary.
I certainly can’t claim perfection here, but at the same time I think my motives are mostly right. It’s very interesting that the Lord would have me read this passage when we just had an open concert here at the church yesterday, and today I set up for a one-man photo show in the city gallery. I was tempted by wrong motives in the concert planning, and that’s even more of an issue with the photo show. God has gifted me with eyes to see the beauty in His creation, and this is an opportunity to share that beauty with others. There is very much the temptation to feel I took these pictures, but letting that dominate my heart would eliminate all benefit of the show for me. I need to pray for those who come to the gallery and use the larger pictures as media to get people interested in the Scripture photo cards I will have available. My motive needs to be love for God and love for my neighbor just as much as that needs to be the case for anyone else.
Father, thank You for this very timely reminder. I do pray that Your purposes, for yesterday’s concert and for the photo show, may all be fulfilled. Thank You for enabling me to get the CD of the concert done already. Guide in how much that is shared, and in the impact. I pray that the people You want to come to the gallery would indeed do so, and that my interaction with them would be fully controlled by Your Spirit, drawing them to repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!