Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thought of the Daty !!

But I have this complaint against you.  You don't love me or each other as you did at first.
                                                                  Revelation 2:4 (NLT)

The Church of Ephesus in Revelation was good at defending the faith.  Jesus commended them on not allowing false teachings and not tolerating evil people.  And then comes the "But".  BUT, "I have this complaint against you.  You don't love me or each other as you did at first."  Other translations will say that they had forgotten their first love.  The first love of the Ephesians, and us now, must be God and each other.  The most important commandment is to love God with all our being, and then just next to that is to love our neighbors as ourselves. 

Jesus makes clear that our neighbors are all those around us, not just those next door or in the same church, denomination or even faith.  Jesus shows that even our enemies are our neighbors when he teaches us to love them (YES LOVE THEM).  On the cross Jesus asked God to forgive those who put him there because they really didn't know what awful things they were doing.  He didn't say to let them off the hook or approve of what they did.  But he did ask his Father to forgive them, out of his great "first" love. 

We can sum up part of the Ephesians' problem as doing the right things, but without the right motives.  I can only assume (because it's not stated plainly here) that they became Pharisaical.  The got so consumed with keeping out the bad things that they forgot that the most important thing was love.  They most likely fell into hate for their enemies instead of defending themselves out of love and loving those who came against them. 

This is a hard concept to grasp.  It's hard to fight off those who are against you and not come to a place where your anger against them becomes hate.  But if we look to Jesus, that's exactly what he did.  He told the Pharisees that they were wrong.  He got angry and turned over the moneychangers tables.  He told sinners not to sin anymore.  But he never lost his love for those people. 

We are to defend our faith, not tolerate evil practices within our church, and be opposed to false teachings, while also not allowing ourselves to be angered to the degree that hate begins burning inside us.  Will that be easy?  Of course not.  Is it possible?  Well, all I can say is what Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians.  He writes that we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens" us.  So you tell me.  Is it possible?

In the love of Christ,


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