Try Liking Your Neighbor – Divine Complaint
Key Bible Verse: “You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” – Revelation 2:4
Bonus Reading: Revelation 2:1-5
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus praises the believers at Ephesus for their deeds, perseverance, knowledge, and endurance. He notes that they don’t tolerate evil and have not grown weary in the faith. Yet he has something against them for they “have forsaken [their] first love” (Revelation 2:4).
This is often interpreted to mean they have lost their initial spiritual passion toward God. Yet the text literally reads, “You first love you have left.” That is quite a charge for a group that is being obedient, persevering, suffering faithfully, and not tolerating evil.
Christian scholar D.A. Carson notes the “failure of these Christians was not primarily loss of love for God but loss of love for people.” These believers lost love and compassion for those who are far from God. The remedy is to turn around and do the things they did at first (Revelation 2:5).
Over 30 years earlier, Paul commended the believers at Ephesus for their love for one another. Now Jesus threatens to remove their light because they don’t love others. He literally threatens to step away from this church because they no longer love people. This is how serious Jesus is about us loving those from all walks of life and all corners of society.
—Jud Wilhite in Stripped
My Response: Why is loving my neighbor critical to the advance of Christ’s kingdom?
Thought to Apply: Be careful, lest in fighting the dragon you become the dragon. —Friedrich Nietzsche (German philosopher)
Adapted from Stripped (Multnomah, 2006)