It’s easy to claim to love God. A lot of people do so, posting it on Facebook a lot of times. In fact, it’s often the only thing you see on their walls. But usually it’s easier said than done. A lot of them (not all) are just religious. You meet them face to face, you see a different person.
So, who is it that really loves God.
Revelation 2.4 warns the Ephesus church about how it has “forsaken the love you had at first.” The Lord’s solution is for that church to “perform the deeds you did at first.” Go back to the basics. And among the basics is simply to have Jesus as the church’s first love again.
Jesus as your first love—what does that mean? First, to be deep in his Word and live it out daily. “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them,” [John 14.23].
Second, love your fellowmen, especially the poor and weak, as you love Jesus. Treat them well.
‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ [Matthew 25]
But I don’t mean doing the above and then posting it on Facebook or announcing them to all. A lot of ministries today no longer believe what Jesus said in Matthew 6. They announce to all or display their good deeds. They can’t keep them in private—their ego won’t let them. They crave the applause of the world. This is not first love for Jesus—this is selfish love for self or ego worship.
When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
First love for Jesus is NOT what you do in church—your church attendance, being active in church and getting involved in all its ministries, etc. In fact, the church in Ephesus was doing all these full-swing (every church ministry you can imagine), and yet the Lord judged it as having abandoned its first love for Jesus. In fact, it’s backslidden.
What then is first love? Who then has first love for Jesus?
They’re those who’d rather spend long quiet moments alone with Jesus than be in church. Shocked? It’s true. I’m not kidding. And when I say “than be in church,” I mean the church that the world knows and is busy with today. Church today is simply a facade concealing the Babylon system within it. Everything about it is worldly, masked with bible passages and religious music. It sounds and looks so spiritual, but it really doesn’t know what it is doing.
How do you know if a church is a Babylon church? Simple—just read Revelation 2 and 3, particularly on the church in Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea. Here are their characteristics:
- Hard working with patient endurance (they love their denomination so much).
- Can’t tolerate wicked people.
- Can expose false apostles (good with the bible, with titles and degrees)
- Patient suffering and they never quit (all that for their denomination).
- Balaam’s teaching is tolerated (greed and sexual immorality).
- Eating foods offered to idols (their church denomination is their idol).
- Tolerating the spirit of Jezebel, which is sexual immorality and idolatry.
- Looking so alive and growing, and yet DEAD.
- Lukewarm inside.
- Looking rich yet wretched, miserable and poor.
Going back to those whose real first love is Jesus, they also stopped attending prayer meeting programs in church because they have learned to pray without ceasing. They gather together in spirit and in truth to have fellowship and prayer the way Jesus and his disciples did it. They pray for spiritual things, not just their material needs. They especially pray that all true believers be in completely unity as Jesus prayed it in John 17 (the true church). So you don’t find them in denominations.
They worship expressively in private, they weep and laugh and dance for the Lord in secret, not when they are on stage or when the cameras are on. When they share the Gospel, they do it so people would surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, not so their denominational church would gain more members and income. Because of this, they NEVER pursue after people, just as Jesus never pursued after them.
They disciple believers who follow after them. Their discipleship is not programmed or enforced or offered. And such discipleship naturally progresses to fathering, such as what the apostles had.
True lovers of Jesus keep everything in life and ministry so radically simple so they can have more time alone relaxing and resting in God. They do not worry about accomplishments—they just enjoy their time with the Lord. To them, accomplishments all become garbage when you pay attention to them. To those who are in the Babylon church, accomplishments are so important because their greatness depend on them.
When your accomplishments still matter to you, it means your ego is still alive. You have not yet died in Christ. You are not yet a new creation in HIM. Real Jesus lovers simply obey, often in secret. They are so aware that the Father, who watches in secret what they do in secret, will reward them, with or without “success.”
What matters to true Jesus lovers is what they have become under God’s molding—their LIFE, character and spiritual power and authority. The fruit of the Spirit manifesting in them. The more quality, quiet times with Jesus Christ, the better the molding.
This is first love for Jesus. Never abandon it.