First of all, I praise the Lord for saving you and giving you a “love for Christ.” I also am thankful and encouraged by your desire to “contain (keep) your love for Christ” even in the face of persecution and weariness. I could simply tell you to keep reading your Bible, keep praying, keep fellowshipping with other believers, and keep witnessing to others that need to be saved through Christ’s finished work on the cross. All these things are absolutely necessary if you are going to “keep your love for Christ.” But I want to zero in on what I believe is the most important way for a believer to keep a fresh love for Christ in their hearts. In short, it is to KEEP CHRIST’S LOVE FOR YOU constantly before you. Let’s look at two good examples of this. We’ll look first at the Apostle John and then at the Apostle Paul.

In John 13:23 we read, “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, WHOM JESUS LOVED” (NKJV). Of course the Apostle John, who was inspired to write this Gospel, was writing about himself. He was always very close to the Lord and we see here that he is “leaning on Jesus’ bosom, close to the heart of his Savior. John then says something striking, “whom Jesus loved.” Was John implying that Jesus only loved him and not the other disciples, or, at the very least, was he saying that Jesus loved him more than the others? No, for that would not only be untrue, but it would betray a heart full of pride. I believe it speaks of the fact that JOHN APPRECIATED THE SAVIOR’S LOVE FOR HIM AND WAS FOCUSED ON IT! If we were to read on in John’s gospel we would see that he refers to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” no less than 5 more times (see 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20, 24). As we study the life of John we see that he always remained close to the Savior, a proof of his love for Him. At one point Peter, who boasted of his love for Christ, “followed Jesus afar off” and eventually “denied Christ” (Matthew 26:58, 69-75). But John, who spoke only of Christ’s love for him, remained close to Christ at the time Peter was denying Him (John 18:15-16).  We often refer to John as “the Apostle of love” and rightly so, for he spoke more about love than all the other apostles and he did so because his mind and heart was fixed on the tremendous truth, “Jesus loves ME!”

In Galatians 2:20 the Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith in the Son of God, WHO LOVED ME and gave Himself for me.” Like the Apostle John, Paul was fixated on CHRIST’S LOVE FOR HIM. And because he did concentrate on Christ’s love for him, his love for Christ was evident throughout his life. His one desire was to love Christ and to glorify him and thus he could say, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). His life was consumed with Christ and his love and this was reflected in his untiring service for Christ. He spoke of this in 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the LOVE OF CHRIST COMPELS US, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” Again, Paul never focused on “his love for the Lord” but on “Christ’s love for him,” and that love gave him the power to live for Christ. Paul surely loved Christ, but it was Christ’s love for him that produced his love for Christ and that gave him to energy to serve him until the day he was martyred for his faith in Christ.

I would encourage you to be like John and Paul. As you wake up in the morning let your first thought be, “The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me.” May you continue to think on this throughout the day and think of yourself as John did, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” I guarantee you if you have Christ’s love for you as your object, you will indeed “keep your love for Christ.” One of the last truths we have from the Apostle John is, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1st John 4:19).  (378.3)  (DO)