“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
– Revelation 2:4-5
The Ephesian church had a semblance of piety and righteousness, but they did not love God. If they did, then they would have been back doing the first works. What would that be? Jesus told us that our first love needs to be God Himself, and then we are to love others, because all the law and the prophets depend (literally, “hang from”) those first loves (Matt 22:37-40). If we love God and others first, then the works we do will be determined by those loves, and we will seek God’s will first, and love what He loves, do what He would do, live how Jesus lived. Out of our first love, we would do Jesus’s first works: speak conviction into the world, bring souls to God, lift up the downtrodden, heal the sick, comfort those who mourn. Pursuing holiness and living a righteous life would be second nature because our first nature would be to love God.
If the world today understood what love truly is–self-sacrificing, God-seeking, outward-focused, truth-speaking, long-suffering love–then revival would break out like a wildfire. Today, all of us who live in that first love stand as prophets in our land, speaking “edification and exhortation and comfort to men” (1 Cor 14:3). We speak in love against the worldly notions of love, crying out for all to return to their true first love so that they may live. Our first work is to do the work of the Lord, who out of His own first, singular love, sent His only Son to save us all. Can we do any less?