First Love, First Serve

June 5, 2022

“But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”

Revelation 2:4-5

Playing The Game

The game of tennis is a fun one to watch, especially once you’re witnessing Wimbledon-level talent and skill. From the intensely fast swing of the racket to the fiercest of spins put towards the ball, it gets difficult to keep up with where the game is going, where the players’ feet are, and whether or not the ball stayed in bounds.

But the start of each game is very simple, very basic, and very easy to grasp. So what do tennis and Christianity have in common?

First Love, First Serve

Both this game and the gospel start with love and naturally progress into serving. At the start of the game, each player begins with love (zero points); the points proceed from there once the server moves the game forward.

In Revelation 2:4-5, the Word of the Lord declares that His church in Ephesus has abandoned the love they had at first, the love from which they first began. The love that God first displayed to them in Jesus had begun to mean less to them than it did at the start. He reminds them here that His love is what began their identity as the church and that they must circle back to those same humble beginnings if they want to live as conquerers amidst the darkness of the age.

Love and Light

But it didn’t end there—from this love comes good works of service, both to God and to the people He has placed in our circles of influence. There are implications for this love; not that it saves us, but that it changes how we fellowship with Him and with the watching world around us. Good works characterize the love we have for our God and for His people.

He gives a warning to this church whom He loves: unless repentance marks your next moves, the light you’re called to shine is in danger of going out. And we can’t play the game without light, much like we can’t live our lives in darkness.

But the good news of the gospel remains: through faith in Christ, we are empowered by His Spirit and led in obedience for good works. Remember the game of tennis: God’s love is the starting point of our service unto Him and others. It’s in His hands that we are made conquerors.

Now What?

Consider your view of the gospel. Have you complicated it past the love you had for God in the beginning—first love, first serve? Or have you maybe even watered it down so much that good works play no role? Reflect on your relationship to love and service for God and for others. Thank Him for the simplicity of His gospel, that we get to play a part in His ways.

Related Resources

Your Light Matters

Subscribe to the Daily Devotional