Some of us may remember singer Paul Simon’s classic song Slip Sliding Away:
“We work our jobs, collect our pay,
believe we’re gliding down the highway,
when in fact we’re slip sliding away.
Slip sliding away… slip sliding away…
you know, the nearer your destination,
the more you’re slip sliding away.”
The church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) was commended for her good deeds and persevering faith in the midst of hardships. They thought they were doing well until Christ pointed out to them the reality of their hearts:
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.”
The Greek word for “first” means “first in priority”. We have lost our first love when Christ is no longer the first in priority in our lives. There are many competing distractions that may dislodge Christ to secondary priority -– the pursuit of career opportunities that consume too much of our energies, key relationships in our lives that we cannot seem to surrender to the Lord, or our over-commitments in Christian service that leave us worn out. We think that we are doing well but actually we are “slip sliding away”. This is so subtle that we may not even notice it ourselves.
How can we restore our first love?
Firstly, we must come before God to repent from allowing seemingly good things to become substitutes for His first love. We need to re-evaluate the priorities in our lives so that our love for God is unrivaled (Luke 14:25-33). When we live in sin, we have forsaken our first love. We must repent and ask God for forgiveness.
Secondly, recall those moments when we first encountered Christ and celebrate again our salvation story. Share it with your family members or friends. Rekindle the excitement of being a child of God and the youthful abandonment in serving Christ when we were younger. Remove the dross of dullness and ask God for a new heart.
As we mature in life and perhaps attain material security, it takes even more effort to maintain our first love for God. But Christ deserves and demands supremacy in all areas of our lives.
If Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.
Lam Kok Hiang
Photograph by Silke Remmery