What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…
We these lyrics, Dionne Warwick spoke to a generation that had lost its will to show love. One can only look at the abundant evidences of our loveless society to know that these lyrics ring true. The divorce rate today is hovering around the 50% mark. There is violence and racial discord in the streets across our country. Bullying in our schools is at an epidemic level, causing some young minds to just give up and give into suicide. Children are being brought up in single parent or foster homes, because the ones that should love them the most, don’t. And what about the church? Well, most people who our unchurched will tell you that the reason they don’t go is because of the way they were treated when they did. What an indictment upon the American society and the church.
In the second chapter of Revelation, Jesus wrote to the church at Ephesus a stern warning about living life without love. “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Rev. 2:4,ESV) Leading up to this charge, Jesus had commended the church at Ephesus for the many good works that they had accomplished. He states that they had worked hard for the cause of Christ. Further, they had endured under very intense persecution from Rome and the local pagans of the region. Also, they had even been sound in their discernment of false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing. Nevertheless, none of this matter without the love of God saturating it all. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Paul declared that without love all else is worthless. Even if one speaks with the tongue of an angel, without love as the catalyst of such a feat it would sound like a child banging on the cymbals of a drum set. All these great works without love are worthless in the eyes of God.
So how do we remedy this situation? Jesus gave the church at Ephesus a threefold exhortation on what to do to make things right. Remember, repent, and do the works of love again. First, we must remember. Think back to when you were first saved. Do you remember how you felt? Remember the joy that accompanied your decision for Christ. You literally couldn’t wait to go and tell someone what Christ had done for you. This is how we get back to the first love, by remembering the first love. Start every day as if it were the first with Christ. This will make a difference in how we approach life. Next, repent. Losing our first love is serious business to God and it should be to us. When we repent, we first see our wrong and then we turn or stop doing what is wrong. We beg for forgiveness and we walk in a renewed state of life. Simply put, we stop not loving and just start loving. Last, we do the things we did at first. We embrace the love that God showed us in Christ and manifest that love to others. The great commandment tells us that we are to love God with our all and love others as we love ourselves. If we live by this rule, we will fulfill the mandate to live in a state of love.
So, where do we start? First, by realizing our fault and determining to remedy it. Simply put, just start loving. Allow love to be the catalyst of all we do. Second, look for ways to manifest God’s love to others. Serve the Lord with love as the catalyst. When you do this, get ready to be used of God in ways you never thought possible.