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Priority of Love Priority of Love

Priority of Love

A wife once asked her husband, “What do you think the Bible means when it says that Ezekiel’s wife was ‘the desire of his eyes’? Looking at her tenderly, he answered, “I think it means that every time he saw her, Ezekiel experienced the same thrill he felt when he first saw her on their wedding day!”

Jesus also used the language of love to speak of His relationship with the church of Ephesus. Only in this case, Jesus issued a reproof. Instead of holding on to their first love, the Ephesian church had begun to slip in its devotion (v. 4). They were a stable and hardworking church. They cared about the truth and maintained a high standard of doctrine (vv. 2–3). But something was missing.

When Jesus urged them to return to their first love, He wasn’t referring only to chronology. The word first also referred to priority—what they considered most important and best. When Israel was commanded to offer the first fruits, they were required to bring God the best of what they had, not merely the first things they harvested. The believers in Ephesus obeyed Christ, but they were capable of offering Him a better love.

This rebuke also suggests that there was a weakness in their community life. Just as their love for Christ had cooled, so perhaps had their love for one another. Is it possible that their devotion to sound doctrine had blunted the affection they once felt for one another?

The solution Jesus offered was not an either/or proposition. He did not ask them to set aside doctrine in favor of love. He praised them because they hated the practices of the Nicolaitans (v. 6). But in addition to uncompromising truth, they needed love.

Pray with Us

Today lift up in prayer Moody’s education ministry and its leadership. Ask God to continue to direct and to bless professors, students, and administrators, giving them wisdom and discernment to follow the Word of God without wavering.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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