Maybe you‘ve heard of the seven churches in the book of Revelation. In chapter two the church of Ephesus receives a letter. Now, did you know that Ephesus means Darling? I love that. I have a pillow with the word “Darling” and it is a constant reminder of who I am to Jesus. Anyway, chapter two starts with this: “Write the following to the messenger of the congregation of Ephesus (Darling). For these are the words of the one who holds the seven stars firmly in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. ” Jesus has a message he wants to deliver, but before that is done he wants to reveal himself, “He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” Jesus is revealing Himself to John in his glorified state.
Jesus is the One who holds the seven stars, and He has a message for the seven lampstands. The seven lampstands are seven churches, the first one being Ephesus. Jesus has some awesome qualities, one of them being kindness! He is able to deliver a rebuke to his “Darling” and have it totally wrapped in encouragement and praise. His kindness shines brighter than his rebuke:
“I know all that you’ve done for me-you have worked hard and persevered…” Jesus starts out with recognition that He does see all that we do for Him. Even if others do not recognize the work we put into showing Jesus, He does! He sees that we persevere, and in this instance, He wanted Ephesus, His darling church, to know that nothing was left unseen. “I know that you do not tolerate evil. You have tested those who claimed to be apostles and proved they are not, for they were imposters. I also know how you have bravely endured trials and persecutions because of my name, yet you have not become discouraged.” Wow! He is praising them for standing up for their faith, even when they have been persecuted. He loves that they do not tolerate evil, and they are wise in whom they trust. He loves that through it all they remain steadfast and have not given in to discouragement.
Now he drops the bomb. They are feeling good about all that He has said, they know where they stand in His heart. He tells them this:”But I have this against you: you have abandoned the passionate love you had for me in the beginning. Think about how far you have fallen! Repent and do the works of love you did at first.” Oh yes, how true this rings for His Bride! Jesus is confronting them about their loss of passionate love for Him. Isn’t this the number one issue that Jesus deals with in our hearts? Do we each have a love that brings a flame to our hearts? Is there a bridal passion, a consuming love that marks our every move? Jesus wants to know this, and if we are unable to blaze the path of passion for Him, we must inquire within ourselves about our level of love. He wants our love for him to be exclusive; it must take first place above all else! He is rebuking Ephesus for abandoning this exclusive, first place love, and beckoning them to come back to the heart of God.
He then reminds Ephesus that the one that overcomes he will give access to feast on the fruit of the Tree of life that is found in the paradise of God. We are Overcomers! He is inviting us to His feast, the paradise of God! Is your heart open to what the Spirit is saying to you today?
Is there anything in your life that is a threat to this passionate, exclusive love for God? Is there something that is luring you away from His heart and driving you towards something else? His embrace is always there for us. I have not always run to his embrace first, and that is exactly what his rebuke is all about. Sometimes I have run to distractions, friends, hobbies, isolation, etc. But, never has anything else been able to embrace me in the love that God does. His love is always there and He is calling each one of us His Darling, with open arms he patiently waits for us to choose His passionate embrace.
Will you run into His arms today?
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