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Here is Ephesus, I Find Myself…
Honestly this is a blog post that I had planned to write months ago, but in the months that I have been on sabbatical I just haven’t done much writing (other than journaling) because blog writing in particular feels like an extension of ministry and I was intentionally stepping back from ministry in order to rest. But now I want to begin to share stories of some of the things that I have been learning in these last six months. So, I’m starting here with a truth that the Lord revealed to me back in August when I first moved down to Gainesville, GA….
As I started my time in Georgia I knew that my spirit was feeling dry. I began to spend a lot of time in Bible study and worship. I spent a lot of time reading and learning. I was desperately trying to recapture a raging fire in my spirit that I recognized had dwindled to embers and sparks.
I had been doing Beth Moore’s Bible study on the life and ministry of John. I was in the final weeks of the study and we had come to the section on the revelation that John received at Patmos. I began to read the letters to the seven churches and this particular morning I was reading his letter to the church in Ephesus….
“…Thus says the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and who walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. I know that you have persevered and endured hardships for the sake of My Name and have not grown weary.” -Revelation 2:1-3
At this point I am tuned in to what the Lord is saying to this church because I know that I am a woman who has labored and endured. I know that I have stood for truth and persevered. And I wanted to see what Jesus had to speak to this group of believers in Ephesus.
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand (place of influence) from its place.” -Revelation 2:4-5
Ouch! I sat in silence before the Lord. Even with their good works, with their faith and endurance Jesus has a major concern with their heart’s love. While I could recognize that the former things about faithful service and perseverance were true about me, I could also recognize that, sadly, this too was remarkable true of my heart’s condition. Here in this church of Ephesus, I found myself. Somewhere along the years, ministry became a greater focus in my life than a vibrant love relationship with the Lord. At some point I had slowly slipped into being a woman who served the Lord more than a woman who loves Him deeply.
And I certainly believe that we can, and should, be both people who love Him and people who serve Him, but which is our truest self and our identity? For me, ministry had become so intertwined with my identity. I no longer knew who I was outside of that. I had forsaken my first love. I am the church at Ephesus.
So these months that have followed have been about redefining my identity and becoming once again a woman who loves Jesus deeply above and beyond being someone who serves Him. I want to return and sit at the feet of Him who loves me. To bask in His unending and unconditional love and to pour out my love to Him. I want any work or ministry that I do to overflow from that primary place of love relationship with my Savior and Redeemer, my Jesus, my first love.
This hit home! ??
Amen, Lisa! So glad you have had this time and I’ll continue to be praying with you and agreeing with what God is doing 🙂
You are an example to many, Lisa. Thanks for your vulnerability here. You inspire me to dig deeper in my own relationship with the Lord!
This is beautiful! Love it! Over the last few years, God has been teaching me a lot about having my identity rooted in Him. I realized how much I rode the waves of praise/criticism of others instead of resting in who He says I am. Thanks for sharing this, friend!
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