November 17, 2016

Restoring Original Love

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV)

Jesus’ letter to the Church at Ephesus revealed the way to restore original love. He used an illustration taken from the Old Testament that His hearers would understand when He spoke to them about the lampstand. The lampstand was used in the tabernacle as well as in the Temple to provide light. It was made of pure gold, adding value, and was to be kept burning continually so it required daily attention. The cups on the tops of the lampstand were to be filled daily with pure oil from pressed olives. In Leviticus, God instructed Aaron and the priests to tend the lamps continually in the Lord’s presence. It’s also interesting to note, in Exodus 25, that the lampstand was to be constructed in such a way that the seven lamps would reflect their light forward.

Now, consider the application to restoring original love in your relationship. The lampstand in marriage provides light for direction to look forward as a couple walks together in the light of God’s love. It provides warmth, emotional warmth. Relationships need emotional warmth that comes from simple acts of kindness and loving affirmation to thrive. For those who may not see the significance of that, consider this – where there is no warmth, there is no fire. If you want to experience the fire of passion, you need to begin with the warmth that comes from tending the lampstand in your marriage daily.

But, what happens if your lampstand has run out of oil? What happens when the fire has gone out in your marriage and you’ve lost those loving feelings for one another? This was the case for a church to whom Jesus wrote this letter. They were going through all the religious motions but He said He had one thing against them. You have forsaken your first love. Is that how you feel in your relationship with God? Your spouse? If it is, the answer is not to give up and look for love somewhere else. No! You’ll only find yourself in the same rut again. Jesus offers three simple and practical steps to restoring original love and get the fires burning again.

1. Remember – Jesus said, “Remember the height from which you have fallen!” Take a moment to reflect on the early days of your relationship. What was it that attracted you to one another? What did you do then to win her heart, to capture his love? When did you stop?

2. Repent – As you recall those loving actions you once did that you are neglecting now, Jesus say, “Repent…” To repent simply means to change your way of thinking. If you thought those loving actions were no longer needed to tend the lampstand of your marriage, then repent. Change your mind. Reconsider the value those actions had on your relationship then and can have on it today.

3. Repeat – This is the action step. Remembering and repenting lead you to be intentional in this step. Jesus says, “(Now) do the things you did at first.” As awkward as it may feel at first, it will be worth the effort. If you want those loving feelings to return, start doing the loving actions and the feelings will catch up. Don’t wait until you feel like it. Just do it now. Your relationship may be on life support, but it can thrive again as God restores original love in your marriage. In fact, when we take these steps in our relationship with Him or in our marriage, we reap the benefit of this promise in verse 7. “To Him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” Your marriage can be a paradise if you’ll take the first step today.