“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”Stephen R. Covey
Have you ever put a lot of time and energy into something that didn’t pan out? I certainly have. Not only does that usually end in pain, but it can be a frustrating waste of time. The quote above by Stephen Covey is such a wise caution and begs the question: Do you wonder if you’re placing your efforts, energy, time, heart, and intentions in the right place? Our quest for love and filling our lack can be directed in the wrong place, ending in pain. I recently read the book of Revelations and received this exhortation for myself, so I thought I’d share.
2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.Revelation 2:2-3
Doing Great Things for God
The cautionary letter to the Ephesians in Revelation warns us who read it. God praises the church of Ephesus for their outstanding works, endurance, love for truth, discernment, strength, endurance, and righteous actions. From the description, I’d love to go to that church; it seems perfect. If we had more churches like this today, our world would be different and better. However, what He says next after the praise would have been heartbreaking.
4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.Revelation 2:4-5
God’s Delight and Desire
God delights in us, His creation, but He can still love us while simultaneously correcting us. As a matter of fact, God, like a father, corrects His kids out of love. He was very serious about the one wrong thing because He wanted the best for them. They lost their love for God. Love defines God and His heart for us. God’s love is defined. The center of who He is and what He does is based on and infused with love. The entire point of Jesus coming to earth as the sacrifice for our sins is that God loves us and doesn’t want any one person going to hell living apart from Him.
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.1 John 4:8
Is God Unpleasable?
No matter how powerful and effective the church of Ephesus was, it wasn’t enough. It’s not that God is unpleasable; the standard of receiving from and giving to Him is based on, motivated by, and powered by love. In 1 Corinthians 13, The three things that will remain when all else is gone are “faith, hope, and love” then he says the most intense truth, the key to everything for this world and our heavenly kingdom. The great “wall” on which we should lean our ladder is love.
Pray with Me
Dear Lord, we all face challenges when it comes to love. The world’s definition isn’t what true love is, but it’s based on You. I’ve learned and still, at times, my ladder on many buildings. Sometimes it’s the building of completing my list and getting things done, fear, frustration, anger, unforgiveness, people-pleasing, success, finances, defensiveness, and even good causes like righting wrongs and correcting injustices. Lord, I ask that you forgive me; help me to experience more of Your love so I know what it is and how to give it. When I’m doing good things like the church at Ephesus, may it be for love and out of love for you. I love you, Lord, you and I thank you for your help and reminders when my ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
19 We love because he first loved us.1 John 4:19