Are you losing that loving feeling? Has “red-hot love” turned to “not tonight, honey”? Has passion given way to dirty socks on the floor, too many bills, and too little romance? There is a way to regain that feeling!
Are You Losing that Loving Feeling?
Remember, Repent & Do
Here in chapter 2, we have both encouragement and warnings to four key churches in Asia (modern day Turkey): Ephesus (Rev. 2.1-7), Smyrna (Rev. 2.8-11), Pergamos (Rev. 2.12-17), and Thyatira (Rev. 2.18-29).
His comments to the church at Ephesus can also be applied to our personal lives and relationships, especially in marriage. He says in part:
1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
Notice that Jesus started with encouragement, rather than criticism. He told them the things that He had seen that they were doing right. We should be careful to do the same in our relationships with our spouses and others.
Falling Out of Love
In marriage counseling and in conversations with many who are struggling in their marriages I’ve often heard, “I love him, but I’m just not ‘in love’ with him” or “We have just fallen out of love.”
Maybe that’s you or someone you know. Maybe you believe you have really tried to make it work, but the feelings just aren’t there. Notice Jesus, through the Apostle John, says, “I know your works …” Jesus sees the effort you have put into making things work.
But then He goes on to say, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” He doesn’t just say, “I understand. If you don’t have that ‘loving feeling’ anymore, you can’t help it.” No, He provides the answer, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works …” one translation says, “…do the works you did before.”
When we first fall in love with someone, we think about them all the time. We tell ourselves good things about them. We think about how much we want to be with them. We focus on all their good points. We take time to talk and build our relationship.
On the other hand, when “life” starts to enter in and we realize he leaves his dirty socks everywhere and would rather watch football than have a meaningful conversation or that she criticizes your driving and is not always hot for romance, we start to tell ourselves other things. And guess what? Our feelings begin to change, as well.
The answer is the same in our individual relationships as it was for the Ephesians in their relationship with Christ, “remember …, repent …, and do …”
Remember the things about him or her that caused you to fall in love. Remember the kinds of things you did for and with each other. Remember the things you told yourself—how you thought about the other one.
Repent of your unbiblical thoughts, words, and actions. Yes, your spouse needs to do the same, but you are only responsible for you!
And do—do the deeds you did before. Do the things you did when you felt the way you used to. It’s amazing when we start thinking and doing right, the feelings soon follow.
That may seem like an oversimplification because many of the problems we encounter are bigger than dirty socks and backseat driving, but the principle is the same.
Therefore remember, repent, and do the deeds you did before!
It’s profoundly simple and profoundly powerful!
Today’s Other Readings:
Turn to Me with All Your Heart
11 The LORD gives voice before His army,
For His camp is very great;
For strong is the One who executes His word.
For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible;
Who can endure it?
12 “ Now, therefore,” says the LORD,
“ Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
The “day of the Lord” had a near fulfillment, which we read about in the book of Ezekiel, but it will also have an end time fulfillment. We’ll be reading more about the end time fulfillment as we continue through the book of Revelation.
As you read verses 12 & 13 above, you can see God’s mercy, love, patience, and His desire to save everyone. But because He is also a holy God and a God of justice, He will eventually judge those who have not turned to Him in repentance and faith.
He Maintains the Cause of the Afflicted
Verses 12 & 13, “I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence.”
Though God sometimes allows believers to suffer persecution and trials, God is never apart from them. He uses them for our good (Rom. 8.28-29) and will never allow us to go through more than we can handle without giving in to sin, as long as we rely on His grace (1 Cor. 10.13).
The Web of a Thief
“Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life; he swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing.”
Once you get drawn into the web of a thief, you, too, will lie to cover it up, for fear you’ll be found guilty by association. That downward spiral of sin is self-destructive, just like one who hates his own life.
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days, we’ll talk about grace, unfair treatment, being a Christian single, the responsibility involved in being a true friend and discuss the question, “Are you a lukewarm Christian?”
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Getting ready for 2018 with a Chance to Win a Bible & Journal
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading and prayer an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible and to sign up for my daily encouragement. This year I’ll be adding Scripture-based prayers to each day’s post. If you sign up before December 15 you’ll have a chance to win a MacArthur Daily Bible and a journal to record your thoughts and those Scripture-based prayers. Email subscribers will also be automatically entered into a drawing for monthly giveaways throughout 2018.
I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
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So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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