by Rick Warren — June 10, 2021
“You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first.”
Revelation 2:4-5 (NCV)
But it does.
In Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus used an analogy from romantic love to describe a church that had gone astray. Jesus said to the church in Ephesus: “You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first” (NCV).
It’s not only churches that drift from their original love. Marriages and other significant relationships can drift away from the love that first drew them together.
The four things that Jesus tells the Laodiceans to do can help you to recapture your marriage relationship too: remember, return, repent, and repeat. And if you’re not married, you can also apply these same principles to other relationships in your life, like your family or very close friendships.
1. Remember. Think about what you did in your first days together that made you fall in love. Think about the happy days. Stop thinking about all the problems you have now and remember how your love began.
2. Return. Return your focus to God. It’s easy to let your focus drift to your problems, pressures, stresses, and career. But if you want to return to your first love, you need to turn your attention back to God.
3. Repent. Choose to change how you think and act. Love isn’t a feeling, but it creates feelings—sometimes enormous feelings. Love is a choice. It’s a commitment to put someone else’s best interest over your own. Anything other than that isn’t love. If love were simply a feeling, God couldn’t command it. Yet God commands us over and over in his Word to choose to love others (including our spouses). If you haven’t been loving your spouse like Jesus would, make a choice to start doing that today—that’s repentance.
4. Repeat. Do what you did when you first fell in love. Feelings always follow actions. It’s easier to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action. If you wait to feel affectionate and romantic, the devil will make sure you never feel it. Choose to act in a loving way, and the feelings will come back.
The kind of affection that leads to a lasting relationship inevitably seeps out of almost every marriage eventually. The question is: How will you respond when that happens?
Don’t continue to drift apart from the one you love. Instead, choose to rekindle your love as you remember, return, repent, and repeat.