February 22, 2014


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.

Ah, the perils of cold orthodoxy! This brings to mind 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul is very clear that good works without love are meaningless. I dare say there are many churches today that are in this condition. The encouraging thing to remember though is that Jesus’ goal is never punishment for its own sake, but rather repentance. Repentance itself isn’t an abstract concept, but rather an active turning from wrong to right, which is why Jesus says here to “do the things you did at first.” Sometimes people “repent” with great tears and emotion, but then nothing changes in their daily lives. They haven’t repented! We would do well to think about how people act when they are freshly head-over-heels in love, and understand that should be our degree of intensity toward Jesus. Love does mature over time, but from the perspective of 45 years I can say that it certainly doesn’t have to weaken, and courting your spouse is never a bad thing. When we think of Jesus, do we long to be with Him? Do we place fellowship with Him first in our priorities? Do we want earnestly to please Him, to give Him joy? Those are all questions that should receive a resounding YES, but often don’t. Our relationship with our spouse and our relationship with Christ both take vigilance and work, but they are more than worth it. The parallels are so strong that God uses the marriage metaphor throughout the Old Testament, and Paul brings it into sharp focus in Ephesians 5. We need to remember our first love, and do the things we did at first!

I have been blessed with a marriage that is the envy of many, even to the point of incredulity that we could have a relationship like this after 45 years. That certainly gives me perspective on this passage! Yesterday we were told that my wife will not have to have surgery at this point on a ganglioglioma (benign tumor) in her brain, and that made it a very good day indeed, despite my having a miserable cold. I need to remember that in terms of my relationship with Christ as well, not letting little things distract me from what is good from His standpoint. I am as prone as anyone, I think, to get irritated and frustrated at little things. I must not let such things descend into resentment that will interfere with my sensitivity toward and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I need to maintain “first love,” even as I seek to lead others into it.

Father, thank You indeed for Your grace toward us. I don’t know why the brain surgeon was so sure the tumor was growing, in August as well as a year ago, but I thank You that the MRI files in the hospital computer made it clear that it hasn’t really grown for at least four years. Thank You for this training in faith, even though it wasn’t much fun at the time. Help me be more and more in love with You, even as You have enabled me to be so toward my wife, so that I may be and do all that You desire, doing Your will for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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