At Nowra City Church we are beginning a series this January 2014 on the book of Ephesians. When studying the book of Ephesians, the other mentions of the church at Ephesus in the bible need to be read so there is context and a broader picture. Acts 18-20 and Revelation 2 are the two passages I am thinking of.
The church at Ephesus was a doctrinally strong church but within a generation had “lost its first love” (Rev 2:4). This is a challenge and a reminder to all Christians. I found this checklist of 40 Evidences That You’ve Left Your First Love and are posting here as a checklist for myself and any Christian who would like to be reminded of keeping their passion for God and His house white hot. This is in no way meant to be condemning but challenging and then inspiring to start off this year, fuelled up and fired up for God and the things of the Spirit.
(Giving due credit for authorship, this was written by a lady called Nancy and posted originally on Paula Hendricks Blog.)
1. You can go hours or days without having more than a passing thought of Him.
2. You don’t have a strong desire to spend time with Him.
3. You don’t have a strong hunger for the Word; Bible reading is a “chore”–something to mark off your “to do” list.
4. Spending time in prayer is a burden/duty rather than a delight.
5. Your worship is formal, dry, lifeless, merely going through the motions.
6. Private prayer and worship are almost non-existent . . . cold and dry.
7. You are more concerned about physical health, well-being, and comfort than about the wellbeing and condition of your soul.
8. You crave physical food, while having little appetite for spiritual food.
9. You crave human companionship more than a relationship with Christ.
10. You spend more time and effort on your physical appearance than on cultivating inner spiritual beauty to please Christ.
11. Your heart toward Christ is cold and indifferent; not tender as it once was, not easily moved by the Word, talk of spiritual things, etc.
12. Christianity is more of a checklist than a relationship with Christ.
13. You measure spirituality (yours/others’) by performance rather than the condition of the heart.
14. Christianity is defined more what by what you “do” than who you “are” (“doing” vs. “being”).
15. Your obedience and service are motivated and fueled by expectations of others or a desire to impress others, more than by passion for Christ.
16. You are more concerned about what others think and pleasing them, than about what God knows and pleasing Christ.
17. Your service for Christ and others is motivated by a sense of duty or obligation.
18. You find yourself becoming resentful over the hardships and demands of serving Christ and others.
19. You can talk with others about kids, marriage, weather, and the news, but struggle to talk about the Lord and spiritual matters.
20. You have a hard time coming up with something fresh to share in a testimony service at church or when someone asks, “What’s God been doing in your life?”
21. You are formal, rigid, and up-tight about spiritual things, rather than joyful and winsome.
22. You are critical or harsh toward those who are doctrinally off-base or living in sin.
23. You enjoy secular songs, movies, and books more than songs or reading material that point you to Christ.
24. You prefer the company of people who don’t love Christ, to the company and fellowship of those who do.
25. You are more interested in recreation, entertainment, and having “fun” than in cultivating intimacy with Christ through worship, prayer, the Word, and Christian fellowship.
26. You display attitudes or are involved in activities that you know are contrary to Scripture, but you continue in them anyway.
27. You justify “small” areas of disobedience or compromise.
28. You have been drawn back into sin habits that you put off when you were a young believer.
29. “Little” things that used to disturb your conscience, no longer do.
30. You are slow to respond to conviction over sin–or you ignore it altogether.
31. You enjoy certain sins and want to hang onto them. You are unwilling to give them up for Christ.
32. You are not grieved by sin–it’s no big deal to you.
33. You are consistently allured by certain sins.
34. You are self-righteous–more concerned about sin in others’ lives than in your own.
35. You are more concerned about having the right position than the right disposition.
36. You tend to hold tightly to money and things, rather than being quick to give to meet the needs of others.
37. You rarely give sacrificially to the Lord’s work.
38. You rarely have a desire or burden to give, when you hear of legitimate financial needs within the Body, your church, or a ministry.
39. Accumulating and maintaining material “things” consumes more time and effort on your part than seeking after and cultivating spiritual riches.
40. You have broken relationships with other believers that you are unwilling or have not attempted to reconcile.
How’s your “love life”? If you saw yourself in the descriptions above, you may feel an overwhelming despair. Remember that the Spirit doesn’t condemn, but convicts. If He is convicting you, respond with godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10).