Lost or Left
But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Revelation 4:2
Over the years theologians and scholars have attempted to unwrap the mystery contained in the book of Revelation. This book of the Bible oftentimes sees a resurgence during troubled times as people try to make sense of a world gone mad. There are those who hold up the book of Revelation as a doomsday trilogy, others who call it a fantasy for troubled people and everything else in between. I will leave the unpacking of the mystery of the Book of Revelation to the scholars, however I’d like us to take a moment to look at the word lost vs. left.
Over the years we have heard Revelation 4:2 quoted as “But I have this against you, that you have lost your first love.” Did you know that the word lost does not appear in the text? The word we find in scripture is left, or variants of this word; abandoned, departed, forsaken. The Weymouth translation puts it this way, “you no longer love Me as you did at first.”
Why is this significant? Aren’t we just talking semantics now? The word “lost” denotes something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered. It indicates something that is beyond our reach; beyond redemption. The Holy One, Creator of all things is not, has not been and can never be lost. We as people are lost and He as the suffering, sacrificial Savior finds us; and when He does our hearts are changed, our destiny altered and we fall in love with the very One who saves us. We have all lost things in this life, many times through no fault of our own, but we do not lose a Holy God. Leaving on the other hand is a matter of choice. In Revelation 2:4 the author calls the church to repentance; to turn from her sinful choice of leaving her First Love and falling into the trappings of this world. Kingdom focus had become earthbound and the church was so distracted that they did not see the shift. We, like the church at Ephesus, all too often do not see the erosion that has subtly transitioned us from God’s purposes and plan into the pursuing of our own fleshly desires that we misguidedly call “God’s plan.”
Remember, the Church in Ephesus was doing the Lord’s work. They were zealous, tenacious in their serving, longsuffering and patient. Yet in all their doings and goings, they got off track and neglected to keep the main thing the main thing. Revelation 2:4 is the heart cry of the Almighty, beckoning His children to return to Him, their First Love.
“I know your doings and your toil and patient suffering. And I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, but have put to the test those who say that they themselves are Apostles but are not, and you have found them to be liars. And you endure patiently and have borne burdens for My sake and have never grown weary. Yet I have this against you—that you no longer love Me as you did at first. Revelation 2:2-4
Have you left your First Love? Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that you can return. “Be mindful, therefore, of the height from which you have fallen. Repent at once, and act as you did at first.” And the bad news “or else I will surely come and remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5).
Today Lord, let us choose to repent, return, and be restored to You, our First Love.
Father, take hold of my prodigal heart and renew Your Spirit within me. I choose to return to You, my First Love. Keep the beacon of Your Light within me as You shine forth Your compassion and mercy, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, whom I love, amen.