Revelation 2: 1-71TO THE angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Ephesus write: These are the words of Him Who holds the seven stars [which are the messengers of the seven churches] in His right hand, Who goes about among the seven golden lampstands [which are the seven churches]:
2I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked [men] and have tested and critically appraised those who call [themselves] apostles (special messengers of Christ) and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors and liars.
3I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name's sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary.
4But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].
5Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.
6Yet you have this [in your favor and to your credit]: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans [what they are doing as corrupters of the people], which I Myself also detest.
7He who is able to hear, let him listen to and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant to eat [of the fruit] of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
I cried b/c I knew it to be true. I asked God how I got to this place. This place of hardness, where I don't feel anything, especially His presence. He showed me in verse 5 - "Remember the heights from which you have fallen." I remember the beautiful times I had with God in the prayer room before I had kids, the 6 am sets, the day long times with Him, the internship, etc. "do the things you did at first" - What did I do at first, Lord? He showed me that I was no longer regularly in His Word, that I no longer fast regularly, that I pray sporadically and selfishly. So, I asked Him for a hunger for His Word. I asked to hear His voice. I asked Him how He wanted me to fast and how He wanted me to pray.
The next day, I opened up my journal to rehearse the places I had been with God and what I had done at first. I looked at where my journaling stopped - Proverbs 31:10 so I decided to start there. Wow! I'll have to post just on that verse another time but the path it led me on is the point here.
Proverbs 31:10 (Amplified Bible)10A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman--who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.
I glanced through the footnotes on Proverbs 31 and that lead me to 2 Peter 1:5-8.
2 Peter 1:5-8 (Amplified Bible)
5For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),
6And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),
7And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.
8For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
And I realized that some things I had never noticed before. One, in order to "add to"/"develop" a trait I needed to "exercise" the current trait. Talk about "working out your salvation with fear and trembling"! Secondly, I noticed that neither faith nor virtue were the first traits. I had always heard or read those to be the starting point. But they are not the starting point - diligence is. Diligence is where it all begins.