Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love (Eph. 6:24). I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first (Rev. 2:4). I have loved you with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3)

Dear Lord Jesus, I need this closing verse of Ephesians as much as I need air and water, for it calls us to focus of the most important thing in life—to love you with everything we have and are. Don’t let me ever forget, even for one nanosecond, that we love you only because you first loved us and gave yourself for us on the cross.

You didn’t lay down your life for deserving friends, but for rebels, fools, and idolaters—like me. You love us, you’ve freed us from our sins by your blood, and you’ve made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and Father forever (Rev. 1:5-6). Now, Jesus, please make the familiar sound of these words come alive with renewed passion and fresh delight.

Even as we first needed grace to respond to your love (Eph. 2:8-10), so we need grace to stay alive to your love, and to grow even deeper in our affection for you. Your love for us is the one constant in our lives—for you love us with everlasting, unwavering, unabated affection. Everything else changes—everything else is subject to whim and fancy. But, unfortunately, our love for you does ebb and flow.

Jesus, give us fresh grace to love you with an undying love. May the cooling of our affections for you bother us more than the fragile economy, our broken relationships, political upheaval in the world, concerns about our health, getting older, or anything else. Jesus, don’t let us get used to status quo, middle-class, business-as-usual love for you.

If, by the Holy Spirit, we hear you saying to us this morning, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Rev. 2:4), may we welcome it as a great gift, and respond with humility, gratitude and repentance.

For it means you are pursuing us, and that you delight in us; it means your banner over us is love and your jealousy is current. That you are jealous for our love, Lord Jesus, is the greatest compliment you could possibly pay us. So very Amen we pray, in your glorious and grace-full name.