Back to the Basics

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When you start to think that there are too many rules and restrictions in the Christian life, your walk becomes drudgery and you leave your first love.

Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. (Revelation 2:5, NLT)

I once knew a guy who was always in the best shape. I would run into him a couple of times a year, and he always made a point of reminding me that he was in much better shape than I was. He would tell me, “Feel my arm!”

“That’s hard.”

“That’s right!” he would say. But he was a stressed-out and very intense kind of guy. One day, I received the sad news that he had died of a heart attack. This guy had it all together on the outside. He was in great shape. But inside, his heart was in trouble.

You may have the greatest physique — bulging biceps and rippling abs. You may have incredible stamina and energy. But what good is all of that if you have heart disease? You might be able to flex your spiritual muscles in front of other people. You might say, “Look at my schedule! Look at all that I am doing for God. Look at what I have done. Listen to my accomplishments.” That’s good as far as it goes. But it falls short of revealing the whole picture.

When Jesus told the believers at Ephesus they had left their first love, He was getting to the heart of the matter, the root of success or failure in the Christian life. He was saying, “You are leaving this first love. You are neglecting these basic things.” That is when the Christian life becomes drudgery. That is when you start saying, “There are so many rules. There are so many restrictions. I want to live as I please. I want to be free.”

When you begin to think like this, you are leaving your first love.

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