Called to Pursue Our First Love

According to Matthew 22:37-38, believers in Jesus the Messiah are to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind (strength). Yet, according to Romans 13:8-10, 1 John 2:9-11, 3:10-11, and other biblical passages, love for other people is the preeminent sign that a person loves God. Thus, as believers, we are called to love other people. This is the first love that occurs when one is in relationship with God.

Love, in fact, distinguishes the community of God’s people from people who do not love God. When Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers (probably around AD 54), he mentioned their love for one another (Eph. 1:15-16) and encouraged loving unity in the body of Christ (Eph. 4:15-16). Their love for one another is perhaps one reason the church in Ephesus had such an impact in such an evil place. But later, God warned the Ephesians that they had forsaken their ‘love’ (Rev. 2:1-7). This implies that they may have become divided over theological issues.

Unfortunately, many Christians today focus more on their disagreements than they do on simply loving one another. Could that be one reason why the church as a whole is so fractured today, why our witness for Jesus has been greatly weakened, and why the Christian community as a whole is not as effective today is it was in Ephesus?

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