Your First Love
Revelations 2:2-5 (TPT) I know all that you’ve done for me—you have worked hard and persevered. I know that you don’t 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. But I have this against you: you have abandoned the passionate love you had for me at the beginning. Think about how far you have fallen! Repent and do the works of love you did at first. I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place of influence if you do not repent.
As I've watched many ministries crumble over the years, pastors who once stood strong in a place of great influence, become stagnant in their spiritual walk and eventually burned out and began to despise the ministry they once loved. It became a prison to them and even amid fame and popularity, they found emptiness and disillusionment. So, what happened? Did God lead them down a dead-end path of pain and despair?
Sadly, many begin in ministry out of a passionate love for Jesus. The fire burns so strong it can't be contained! They teach, preach, prophesy, and see the sick healed. Ministry opportunities become more frequent, and they begin to spend less and less time seeking their first love. The attacks and temptations of the enemy, that they once had the strength to fight and overcome, now take the upper hand and they begin to yield to what they thought they'd never do. It doesn't start out intentionally. It's a slippery slope of being too busy doing the work of ministry and slowly forgetting the one we are working so hard to draw others to.
None of us are immune to backsliding. As with any relationship, we must be diligent in our pursuit of our Bride Groom. Skipping intimate time seeking Him, praying, worshiping and studying His Word is not an option, if we desire to keep moving forward.
Ministry is only effective if it flows out of our time in His presence and in His Word. We, in and of ourselves have nothing to offer lest our sacrifice is ignited by His Spirit!
Don't forget your first love. Keep Him at the center of your life and the top of your priority list. Life is meaningless and ministry is nothing but dead and dry religion once the fire burns out. Keep it kindled as you stay mindful of diligently seeking Jesus on a daily basis. Everything else is an extension of that relationship!