Revelation 2:4 'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-- unless you repent.
What does it mean that the Ephesians had left their “first love?”
Notice that three actions (not feelings, emotions, or attitudes) are commanded: remember, repent, and do:
1. “Remember” – they are to remember "from where they have fallen." Their current position is one below where they had been. Their current behavior is missing the first deeds that were motivated by their first love.
2. “Repent” – this tells me that whatever it is to “leave your first love” is something that requires repentance, i.e., sin.
3. “Do the deeds you did at first” – Obedience is the perfect expression of love for God (1 John 2:5). The Ephesians’ departure from their first/former love is evident in that they have ceased to engage in the expressions of that love.
I think a fair analogy may be made with courtship and marriage. Many a man, fired by the warmth of “first love,” performs deeds gallant and chivalrous for his bride-to-be/new bride. Due to the nature of the human constitution, the warmth of “first love” wanes. It cannot be helped. Not is it to be particularly lamented, UNLESS with the settling into the routines of married life, the husband no longer does the deeds he did at first. He no longer holds the door, opens the car door, etc. showing his deference and love. The issue is not that he no longer “feels” the same, but that he no longer “acts” the same. It is the action that is the true measure of love. When action is absent, love is absent or soon will be.
This is not to say that emotional deadness is an acceptable condition for a Christian. Scripture will not countenance such a norm.
Yet, Jesus does not call Ephesus (or us) to regain the ardor and fervor of a new convert. He calls us to maintain first love’s deeds, i.e., obedience, regardless of our emotional fluctuations.