Perfect Bracket

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Friday, March 22, 2019


But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Revelation 2:4

So far I have a perfect bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament. That is the first time this has happened to me. My son’s bracket is already busted up, and I’ve been bragging about my perfect bracket. But he quickly reminded me that my bracket will not stay perfect for long. He is correct of course. That perfect bracket will probably get messed up today. But at least I have a great start.

Most things are usually great in the beginning. Unfortunately, most people do not cultivate the consistency to maintain their passion for something from beginning to end. I always find it to be strange, for example, that someone would be so in love with another person at the beginning of their relationship, but after they’ve gotten married, they can't stand each other and get a divorce. In the same way, some people go through much to get a particular job, or a house, or a car, but afterward, they don’t show up to work on time, or don’t clean their home, or take good care of the vehicle.

In today’s text, Jesus is scolding the church at Ephesus and letting them know their bracket is busted up, so to speak. It was Paul who founded the Ephesian church. He lived and ministered at Ephesus for three years. Ephesus was also the center of Timothy’s ministry and the home-base for the Apostle John’s ministry.

The Christians at Ephesus were renowned for their faith in God. Jesus commends them for their toil and perseverance. He notes that they do not tolerate evil men and false apostles. They have endured much for the sake of Jesus and have not grown weary.

However, they had moved away from their original position of devotion and enthusiasm for the Savior by failing to maintain the commitment once made to help and serve one another (see Hebrews 3:7). Apparently, the Ephesians came to put church work and ministry obligations ahead of love, devotion, and fellowship with one another. Their theological orthodoxy did not match their failing orthopraxy.

When people first give their lives to the Lord, they are usually overflowing with zeal, passion, and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that zeal, passion, and enthusiasm can easily wane for one reason or another. It is, therefore, necessary for Christians to encourage one another when it is apparent that someone is losing their first love for the Lord. When we notice that another believer’s bracket is getting busted, we shouldn’t criticize them, or condemn them, or gossip about them, or look down on them. We should instead pray for them and invest the time to help them rediscover their first love for the Lord.

My son reminded me that my bracket will be busted up because basketball games are unpredictable. I can’t predict the way a team is going to compete. My selections were based on hopeful optimism and not pragmatism. The games will still have to be played. In the end, my bracket can end up below 50 percent.

In the same way, people can’t predict the challenges they will have. They don’t know the way they are going to be persecuted by the enemy or the trials they are going to have to endure. No one will transition to glory with a perfect record. Everyone’s bracket will get busted up. That is why we are told in Galatians 6:1-2, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for not giving up on us when we lose our first love for you.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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