It is possible to be totally right and still be wrong.
It is possible to have the right answers and still miss the point as to why the answers were spoken into existence in the first place. That is what is happening here in Revelation 2 – in the letter to the church of Ephesus:
“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first,” (Rev. 2:2-4).
Christ in this passage praises them that in the midst of a difficult season that they still had grit. They were able to differentiate between good and bad theology. They were able to endure the difficult times and not be swayed to leave the faith—in fact, Jesus goes so far to say that they have not even grown weary.
But He says He has one thing against them: that the love they had at first was gone. Their obedience, which was once conducted from fervent hearts had become cold, absent, or at best reduced to embers. Their religion became one of creed only, of checked boxes and going through the motions.
In doing stuff for God; they missed God Himself.
The truth is, it is not only the church in Ephesus that can misplace its priorities; we do too. We get caught up in playing church or knowing the right answers. We tally up our church attendance and tithes, and maybe even how many chapter of the Bible we read this week. We miss that, at the core of it, Christ wants to change you, not just your behavior. He is after our entire being. He is, as Hebrews 12:29 would say, “A consuming fire.”
Jesus is not after behavior modification. He is not chasing us from heaven trying to get us to sign a doctrinal statement or a church attendance slip. He is after a heart that has been shaped by the same love that caused Christ to die for us. He calls us to not do stuff for Him but because of Him. He calls us to go to church and have good theology not to earn His love, or prove how right we are to other people. But He calls us to those things out a love for Him and His body.
Jesus call to the church who misplaced its love is simple:
Remember – Remember those early days of faith of being on fire for God. Remember those days where you prayed, not to gain something, but just for the sake of it. For the opportunity to talk with your Father.
Repent – Turn away from going through the motions of faith, and or using faith to get things from God or other people.
Return – Ask God to give you a heart that seeks to know and seek Him. Ask Him to stoke the embers back into flame.