Here’s another church that doesn’t quite have it together. Instead of being lukewarm, it looks like their problem is that they’re intellectual and lack passion. They work hard, they’re longsuffering, they don’t tolerate evil and they recognize false teaching. But they don’t have the love they did at first.
Their problem looks like service burn out. You know, the 10% of the church who do 90% of the work. The Sunday School teacher who also sings in the choir and chairs several committees and shows up at every work day. It’s hard to be passionate about God when you don’t even have time to sit and listen to the sermon.
But I don’t think that’s what God is talking about here. This is not just burnout; it’s something they need to repent of. God’s problem with them is that they don’t love Jesus or each other like they did at first and they don’t do the works they did at first.
So what about me? I think some of my strengths are the things this church had in their favor. I love to serve and work pretty hard at it. I’ve suffered patiently and I’ve endured over the years. I love to search the scriptures to examine the truth from the teachers I encounter.
But when I look back at my youth, I can see that I’m missing a certain uncluttered love I had for Him. I used to read my favorite passages in the Bible just for the joy of it. I memorized passages and meditated on them whenever my mind wasn’t occupied. I used to go for walks just so I could talk with God along the way.
It’s possible to persevere and keep working for God after losing my enthusiasm for Him. I can be like Dori from Finding Nemo and just keep swimming. But God wants passion. He doesn’t lose His passion and He doesn’t want me to lose mine.
In I Corinthians 13:1-3, God reminds me that doing wonderful things without love is meaningless. What Jesus wants is for me to have the attitude of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Be patient and kind.
Don’t be jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
Don’t demand my own way.
Don’t be irritable or keep a record of being wronged.
Don’t rejoice about injustice.
Rejoice whenever the truth wins out.
Never give up, never lose faith.
Always be hopeful.
Endure through every circumstance.
Keep on swimming, but do it because I love God and others passionately.