Devotionals by Charles F. Stanley

March 25

The Priority of Relationship

Revelation 2:1-7

Ephesuswas the home of a tremendous ministry. Despite harsh persecution, the church planted by Paul endured opposition, spread the gospel, and was quick to challenge false prophets. But 30 years after the apostle left, John’s revelation included a stern warning for those believers.

Imagine how the words of Revelation 2 must have struck the Ephesians when they read them. After complimenting their service to the gospel, Christ said, “But I have this against you . . .” That phrase was no doubt extremely disconcerting. The Lord warned them that they had left their first love. In other words, all of their work was being done with wrong motives.

Christ called the Ephesians to remember their love for Him and their delight in His salvation. Service is no substitute for an intimate relationship, but modern believers continue to fall into this subtle trap. The commendable things that we do count for nothing unless they stem from a vibrant personal connection with God. Our work can’t be effective or fruitful unless He is in it.

In fact, God is more interested in you and your personal relationship with Him than in a thousand lifetimes of good works. He desires to be the satisfaction and delight of His children so that their service is a result of loving devotion.

There are plenty of wrong reasons to labor for the kingdom. However, God is satisfied only with service motivated by love for Him. He wants those with selfish intentions to return to their first love. In that way, hearts and minds can be renewed, and service to the Lord will be more fruitful.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2016 All Rights Reserved.
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About In Touch Ministries

At In Touch Ministries, our mission is to lead people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to strengthen the local church.

About Charles F. Stanley

Charles F. Stanley is the founder of In Touch Ministries and a New York Times best-selling author. While his teaching is transmitted throughout the world to millions of people, Dr. Stanley continues to demonstrate a practical, keen awareness of people’s needs and provide Christ-centered, biblically-based principles for everyday life.

Dr. Stanley’s motivation is best represented by the truth found in Acts 20:24, “Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God's mighty kindness and love.”

Contact In Touch Ministries with Charles F. Stanley

Mailing Address
In Touch Ministries
PO Box 7900
Atlanta, GA 30357


Phone Number
1-800-789-1473