Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for July 9th

Remember, Repent, Return

Consider how far 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. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Rev 2:5-6

What do you do when you have lost your first love? How do you recover from this? Our Lord gives three clear, specific steps to take. First, remember what it was like when you first came to Jesus. Remember the joy you had in the Lord. Remember the closeness you felt to him. Remember the inner support you leaned upon in times of pressure and trouble. Remember the ease with which you prayed. Remember the delight you took in other Christians, in the reading of the Word and in the hearing of it. Remember how you could hardly bear to miss a service because you were learning so much of the truth about life. Remember that? Look back. Think back. Our Lord says, Consider how far you have fallen.

And then, repent! Change your mind. That is what repentance means. Change your mind about what has taken the place of Jesus in your life. Renounce that ambition, that pride of position, that longing for approval that has become all-important to you and is motivating your work. Give up your critical spirit, your complaining attitude, your reliance on your knowledge to make an impact in life. Put the Lord back in the center and focus of all your endeavors.

Finally, return! Do the things you did at first, Jesus says. What are those things? Well, you read your Bible with eager eyes. You could not get enough of it. You longed to find out what the Word of God said. And you prayed about everything — even finding a parking place! You responded to the hurts and the needs around you with compassion and with love, and you did not count it an imposition. Above all, you praised God from your heart. You loved to sing praises to his name and to think about his grace to you. Now, do that again, Jesus says. Start there.

At this point, Jesus says a strange thing: But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Why did he not mention that in the things he commended earlier? The answer is that here was a starting point. In one thing they still retain something of their first love: They hated the practices of the Nicolaitans. As best we can tell, this was a group that linked Christian faith with loose sexual practices. They believed you could be Christian but your sex life could still reflect that of the world. They tied that in with a false religious piety. They laid claim to special position and power with God, but they lived like the world. Jesus is saying, Retain your hatred of such practices. That is a vestige of your first love still remaining. You hate them because I hate them. Start there. Continue to abhor such practices, but then go back and do the rest of the things again.

Thank you that you are God, who invites me to return regardless of how far I have drifted. I return to you now and give thanks for a grace that never runs out. Amen.

Life Application

Take some time to remember, repent, and return. Do one thing today that resembles "the things you did at first."

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Church that Lost its Love

Listen to Ray