In speaking to the seven churches in Asia in Revelation 2 & 3, Jesus first mentions the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7. He gives high praise, but also stern warning:
2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
If we judged this church by verses 2 & 3 alone, we’d all say they were a thriving community of Christians who did everything right. They worked for the kingdom, they staunchly defended the Word of God, and suffered through persecutions and trials for their faith. It’s everything we want for our own congregation. But then Jesus gives them the bad news: they’d left their first love. Somehow, they’d gotten off-track and lost sight of Jesus.
We can easily see from the church in Ephesus that it is possible to do all the right things for all the wrong reasons. We can get so caught up in the doing that we lose sight of the reason why we do it. We should constantly be taking inventory of ourselves to re-center our focus on the one who died for the forgiveness of our sins. Without that examination of our motives, it’s so much easier to stop doing all things for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31) and start doing them for your own glory, which leads to evil (James 3:16).