A Surprise Idol
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen…” Rev. 2:4,5
Our Lord is not comforted by the respectability of our idols. He is not less grieved when we choose a more dignified god to make love to. Imagine a husband discovering that his wife is having an affair with a wealthy, highly respected man in the community. He confronts her and she admits her guilt. But then she adds, “But he’s a great guy, very intelligent, fun, and quite well off. At least I didn’t fall for a janitor or a gardener or someone like that.” Would he take solace in the status of his rival lover? Would his heart be less shredded because she had given herself to someone highly respected? Of course not.
And this, it seems to me, is exactly what is happening in this passage. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” are not words of minor correction, but the heart cry of a wounded Lover. What was the church of Ephesus guilty of? Idolatry. Or in other words, spiritual adultery. But the rival lover was so respectable, so dignified, that one would be easily tempted to write it off as a slight misstep. But Christ sees it as no mere misstep, but an out and out fall. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen…” Let me say it again, our Lord is not comforted by the respectability of our idols.
So what was the idol of the Ephesian church? Money, sex, prestige…? No, something far more seductive to committed Christians - ministry. Significant ministry. Christ-focused ministry. Ministry which received our Lord’s commendation. “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; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.” But ministry, important as it is in the believer’s life, can still become an idol. A highly respected idol. A highly accepted idol within the church. A highly praised idol by other believers. But an idol is an idol is an idol. And it still grieves the heart of our Savior because it is still adultery against Him any way you slice it. And what an astonishing, astonishing truth all this raises. Our Lord desires intimacy with us over service by us. (Lk. 10:38-42) He yearns passionately to be alone with us, to enjoy the intermingling of our spirit with His, and waits eagerly for us to join Him in the dance of the ages. But to join Him in that unrivaled dance, we must turn our back on the myriad of other partners who would woo us away. And perhaps the most seductive of all those partners is ministry. Certainly it is the most respectable. But good as it is, it is still an it. And our souls are made for a Him.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I just thought this was a good reminder. Read on...