What might happen if the church of Ephesus in Revelations 2 kept on the same trajectory of doing all the right stuff yet decreasing in their love? We already considered the potential for them sliding into a more legalistic approach to the Christian life rather than making it about grace. Another danger is that it can make the Christian life seem like more of a drudgery than a joy. When that happens, it is so easy to get bored, discouraged, and wanting to give up. Up to this point the church of Ephesus was commended for persevering. Would they be able keep going without compromise devoid of that love they once had?
Love is the greatest motivation for living the Christian life in alignment with God (Jn. 14:15). We don’t always experience tangible rewards of living for Him right now on this earth. We often have to persevere through hard times. If we start to view the Christian life through our circumstances, rather than our love for God, we can easily get discouraged or go into the humdrums.
What to do if the Christian life has become more of a drudgery to you than a joy:
To prevent the church of Ephesus from the pitfall of simply doing all the right stuff as a Christian with a decreased intensity of love for God, He instructed them,
“remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first” (Rev. 2:5, NASB).
Remember. Reflect on all Jesus went through on your behalf. Let love and gratitude well up within you once more for all He did for you.
Repent. Admit where you have merely been going through the motions, playing the part, rather than truly loving the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Acknowledge any motivations for living the Christian life that have been more out of duty than love. Recognize your need for God’s grace.
Retool. Fix your “eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame … so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:2-3). Keep your focus on Him, and not your circumstances. Keep your love for Him at the center of all you do. Move from a self-centered, self-effort, self-persevering type of Christian life to one centered on the Lord. If the focus is truly on loving Him, how can joy not be a part of the equation.