Good works. Check
Purity of doctrine. Check
Endurance for the sake of Jesus’ name. Check
Maintaining love for God….whoops.
The believers at Ephesus boasted a pretty impressive resume, but a resume that fell short because they were missing one vital element: love.
Love not nurtured intentionally is love that will not last.
So how is your intimacy with Jesus? Is it the same as when you first met him? Does he still hold first place in your affection? Do you communicate with him not just in morning or evening prayers but throughout the day? Nothing feeds love more than communication.
It makes me think of pull quotes that appear in books or blogs. Pull quotes are excerpts from the text inserted in the middle of the page highlighting something the author said that was particularly interesting or insightful. They stand out because the publisher uses a different font, color or typeset to make sure the reader notices.
I think our communication with God can devolve into pull quotes. We limit our conversation to the highlights of our day or week. Or maybe the only time we communicate is reserved for crises, so all our words consist of emergency pull quotes. We fail to read the whole chapter. And when we don’t read the whole chapter with God, we eventually lose intimacy.
It may be hard to recognize what’s happening because the pull quotes give us a false sense of being caught up. This can happen in marriages, with our children or friends as well as with God. When it happens with God, the results are as devastating for us as it was for the Ephesians. We run the danger of losing our light.
Cultivating our love for God takes time and effort, but its importance cannot be overstated. Don’t let the fire of your love for him go out. Fuel that fire. Talk to him daily, regularly. He wants you to tell him about more than the highlights. Start right now. Tell him all your thoughts…. Let him read the whole chapter.
Everything rests on it. St Augustine said, “”Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.” Amen.