Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you swiftly, and will move your lamp stand out of its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:5 WEB)
Building fires is a lot of fun. I remember gathering wood and starting a warm blaze during many camp outs. These was always a comforting peace sitting around the fire each evening. We told tales of grand exploits and adventures. There were songs of joy and fun raised over the multi-colored flames. Friendships were created and strengthened while watching the fire give its light to the night.
Fires can also be a lot of work. One day, after the children enjoyed a swim, I decided to barbecue at Talafofo Bay. What a disaster! All the matches, charcoal, lighter fluid, gasoline, wind breaks and frustrations couldn’t light a fire in that breeze. Often, when camping in the woods, I was reminded of the work fire demanded. There was the fuel to gather, the ground to clear, the coaching to get a reliable flame and constant attention to keep it from failing.
To keep a flame going I provided the proper fuel. Occasionally I would fan the fire or blow on the coals to rekindle a dwindling flame. Too much wind would blow the fire out while too little would be useless. It took practice to start and maintain a good camp fire.
As a believer I need to consider the fire burning inside of me. I need to see how high the flame of God’s love is burning in my heart. I was so excited when I was saved. The fires of God’s love were bright and blazing in my life that dat. But what has happened since then? God has not left me. His Holy Spirit still works in my life. Where have the first flames of love gone?
The church at Ephesus was reminded of its failure in this area. They were called to repentance, called to rekindle that first love and excitement (Revelation 2:4,5). How many times have I failed to share with others the Gospel. When I was first saved I couldn’t wait to start a conversation leading to a testimony. Now I consider, with the world’s encouragement, whether that person wants to hear the Gospel. How far have I fallen from my first love, that first excitement. “What is contrary to salvation is not sin but habit.” Charles Péguy.
The Israelites were instructed to return to God (Jeremiah 2:2). Jesus told his disciples the world would turn from God and grow cold in their devotion (Matthew 13:12,13). John reminds his readers to avoid loving the world (1 John 2:15,16), just the opposite of today’s advertising.
But we are new creatures, alive in Christ, born into a new life. We are instructed to avoid loving the wrong things and be content with what we have (Hebrews 13:5,6). We are to understand Christ’s presence in our lives for eternity. We are reminded of God’s faithfulness even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:11-13). We are encouraged to work for God, not for salvation but because of salvation (James 2:16).
I’ve known the Lord as Savior for more than twenty years. Am I gathering or scattering, living in Christ or existing in Christ? Am I being persecuted for seeking to live a godly life in Christ? It is easy to look at the evil world around and become defeated in the heart as things go from bad to worse (2 Timothy 3:12,13). Still we must stand strong in the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Is the Lord speaking to your heart today? Maybe you have lost some of the luster of your first love. Perhaps you need to rekindle the first flames of salvation. A little spark in the right tinder box can generate an unstoppable blaze. A simple breeze on a small flame can start a forest fire.
Become a player, not a spectator. Teach a Sunday School class or Bible Study. You don’t need theological training, just a love for God’s Word and a desire to learn. Attend a Bible Study and Sunday School. There is a great wealth of spiritual growth hiding in our weekly Sunday School classes and Bible Studies.
Is someone near you in need? Provide what you are able. Does work need to be done at church or a fellow believer’s home? Jump in and provide help, work. Don’t rush out after the service, be encouraged and encourage others in fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let’s work together to build a bonfire. Let’s fan the flame together to light up the skies around us with the Gospel. Where is your first love today? “The pains of being a Christian are all growing pains, and growing pains beset only the growing.” Carrol E. Simcox.