Terry R. Baughman
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4–5).
Prior to, and in response to, any great move of the Spirit there will be the conditioning of repentance. When seeking for a renewal of spiritual visitation there must be a change of heart to prepare us for the presence of God. Sin drives a wedge of separation between us and God. The division allows impure motives and carnal actions to fill our lives further alienating us from His Divine anointing. The only thing that can remove the obstruction is heartfelt repentance and a return to our spiritual foundations.
The Church in Ephesus had many admirable qualities. They were busy with good works. They were diligent and patient. They hated evil and resisted false doctrine. They were amazingly resilient and untiring in their defense of the name of the Lord. The one thing noted in which they were failing was their love. They had forsaken their first love and engaged in routine spiritual disciplines without their prior passion for Christ.
Remember and repent was the directive of the Spirit, “Remember from where you have fallen.” Sometime the most effective assessment of our present condition is to remember our past spiritual experiences. Remember the commitments made and the power of the Holy Spirit’s operation. Remember and repent. Return to the foundation, “Do the first works.” Renew the passion of first experience. Rebuild the resolutions made in a time of spiritual brokenness with a heart desiring all God has for us. What God has done in the past He will do again.
Repentance comes before renewal. Every great move of the Spirit has been precipitated by a new wave of consecration. Whenever people call out to God in humility He will hear. The Lord spoke to Solomon and said, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; … And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting,” David prayed (Psalm 139:23–24). The Psalmist knew something about repentance and how to gain the favor of God. At one of the lowest points in his life he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit” (Psalm 51:10–12). Heartfelt repentance will always access the presence and power of God.
Remember and repent! This is our first priority for spiritual renewal.
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15 NIV).