10 Days Devotional - Day 3: Repentance as Returning to Intimacy

Jesus said, “....You have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 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’“ Rev. 2:3-5  (NKJV)

A common definition of “repentance” is to “change your mind,” to let go of ideas, feelings, and beliefs that are false and sinful, and to replace them with God’s truth and moral behavior. Repentance is about more though; it’s about living in the fullness of reconciliation with a God who is love.

In the above passage, Jesus is pleased with the Ephesian church’s perseverance through hard times. They are not weary, but fervently working to advance the gospel in their region. But Jesus has something against them. He says, you are laboring for my name, but I don’t have your heart! He wanted their love even more than their service.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross to purchase merely servants and worshippers. He has myriads of angels who serve and worship him. God the Father wanted children who would inherit all that He possesses.  Jesus wanted a Bride who would forsake all others to marry Him.  This doesn’t mean we don’t obey and serve God, it just means that in the final analysis, it’s all about love.

So how big of a deal is this? Ephesus was an strong, Bible believing, missional church that was spreading the gospel and standing through persecution. Love having first place is so important to Jesus that in spite of these admirable characteristics, He warns them that He will take away their lampstand if they don’t repent.  He is going to remove their church and influence in the region! These are sobering words that show us the seriousness of God’s desire for authentic intimacy with Him to be the focus of our lives.

When loving God is not our primary occupation, it’s because we have no idea of the length, width, height, and depth of God’s love for us.  We love Him in response to His love for us.  Jesus said to Mary and Martha, that only one thing was needed, to sit at His feet and listen to Him.  It’s in this place of sitting and receiving from Jesus that our first love begins to burn brightly.  This is the one thing God desires from us—the one thing!

During these 10 Days, take time to receive and meditate on the love God has for you. Delight in Him and let him delight in you. Humble yourself to receive His affection for you, admit that you need it. Be strengthened with might by His incomparable love and your desire for sin will dissipate. And times of testing will become just another way to love Him back. 

Repentance starts with the kindness of God. Let Him be kind to you and watch how it transforms your heart.

Jaime Dicke
10 Days National Team
Amherst, MA