The church in Ephesus was a good church—they had works, endurance, tried and rejected those who were false, bore all things because of the Lord’s name, etc. But the Lord had one thing against them— that they have left their first love (Rev. 2:4-5). The source of and main reason for the failure of the church throughout the ages is the leaving of the first love for the Lord. Nothing can keep us in a proper relationship with the Lord but our love for Him. We need to cooperate with the Lord to recover our first love for Him and to do the first works; otherwise, His Word says that He will return and He will remove the lampstand, the testimony, from our midst. It is a serious matter not to love the Lord with the first love.
One way to take the lead to love the Lord with the first love is to repent and do the first works. We need to see where we have fallen from, return to the Lord, and love Him with the first love. The first love is not merely the love with which we loved the Lord when we were newly saved; it is the best love for the Lord. Everything we do needs to be based on our love for the Lord, just like the seeker in Song of Songs, who is “sick with love” (2:4-5), which means that she is joyous in the Lord as love to the point of exhaustion! The Lord’s love is a banner spreading over us, showing to all that we who are loved by God are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:31-39). We need to return to the Lord in repentance and love Him with the first love. Whatever we do out of the first love for the Lord is the first works!
Another simple yet much neglected way to love the Lord with the first love is to give Him the first place in all things by having a personal, affectionate, private, and spiritual relationship with Him (S. S. 1:1-4). We love the Lord by seeing a vision of His precious Person. The more time we spend with the Lord, the more we love Him. We need to daily set aside time in which we have personal contact with the Lord. We need to cultivate a personal, affectionate, private, and spiritual relationship with the Lord. Let Him kiss us with the kisses of His mouth! We need to touch Him in the morning in our time with Him. All throughout the day, we need to turn to Him again and again and touch Him, spending time with Him here and there, loving Him and opening to Him.
Other ways to love the Lord with the first love, to give Him the first place in all things, are eating Christ as the tree of life (Rev. 2:7), continually coming to the Lord to contact Him and enjoy Him (Isa. 57:20 and note 1), taking Him as our centrality and our universality (Col. 1:17-18), aspiring and determining to gain the honor of being well pleasing to Him (2 Cor. 5:9; Col. 1:10), having a clear sky between us and the Lord with a throne above it (Ezek. 1:22, 26), and holding Christ as the Head and staying intimately connected to Him by enthroning Him as the Ruler and Decider of everything in our life (Col. 2:19). Today we need to come to the Lord, open to Him, repent, turn our heart to Him, and love Him with the first love!