Last night I got a call from an old college friend and we spent some time reminiscing about the “good old days”. We both agreed that the class that year were a great group of young people who loved the Lord and consequently it made for an awesome experience as we were both starting a Christian college. This friend has gone through a lot since those days and I told him that when he and his family comes to mind I do pray for them. What’s a blessing to see is despite the trials I know he has, his zeal for Christ has not waned one bit ! It’s a blessing because it’s refreshing and encouraging !! But to be honest it takes some work, it takes some discipline, it takes true love. And most people don’t go in for that.
There’s an interesting comparison in the New Testament that starts in Ephesians and ends in Revelation. In Ephesians we see a church “on fire for the Lord”: “. . .after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints” (Eph.1:15) & “. . .I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Rev.2:4). At no time was this a perfect church, as they say, if you think you have found one don’t join it for then it will cease to be so !
So what happened in the space of around thirty years to them? Well we know what Christ said, it was a heart problem. And each of us at times is prone to wander spiritually. Sometimes the spiritual enthusiasm dies down because we get hurt by people, or the trials of life overwhelm us, and often it just happens because we get busy with other stuff and the Lord gets put second, third or even farther down the line in our life ! And it can start so subtle and so quick: Lots to do, little time to do it and before you know its been a while since you sat down and read the Bible. You have made the decision to do stuff and not let God do His work in you. You get your focus off Christ and too much on to people. This is why Paul knew it was important, even though thirty years prior this church at Ephesus was more on track spiritually, to pray this prayer for them, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. . . ” (Eph.3:16).
For them and for us a lot of this comes down to the decisions we make and the daily discipline needed to just keep walking with Him. My friend tells me about his trial but he also tells me that God has taught him things through it. He’s chosen to not become bitter but better. Oh people even in the churches he’s been in have hurt him but he continues to love the Lord even if people around him choose not to. And he speaks of praying and asking for God’s strength and guidance every day. Do you? Or has your spiritual zest been waning some? Well, listen to the remedy Jesus Christ prescribes: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works. . .” (Rev.2:5). When things are right with you and the Lord He will make you like my friend: an encouragement, refreshing and enthusiastic friend !!!