Love Maintenance

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. – 1 John 2:19.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. – Acts 2:42.

U. S. Representative Frank Lucas has again been injured working some cattle at his ranch near Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Lucas was putting identification tags in the ears of some of his cattle when a 250-pound heifer butted his head. As a result he received a small cut on his lip and lost a tooth and it was necessary for him to have an emergency root canal. Spokesperson Jim Luetkemeyer said, “He was trying to tag the heifer and the heifer tagged him back.” This is not the first time Lucas has been injured on his ranch by cattle. In 1996 a cow rammed into a swinging gate and the gate hit is face breaking his nose. Why does Lucas continue to risk injury being around cattle on his ranch? Because he loves the life of a rancher and everything about it. Lucas continues working and taking care of his own cattle.

It is easy to keep on doing something when you love it. You can keep on doing something that is dangerous, low paying, and difficult if you have a love for it. The early Christians continued steadfastly because they had a love for their Lord that would not quit. Those early disciples were in stark contrast to those John wrote about. Some of those who came later did not continue on and the lack of their love for the Lord Jesus was evident by their leaving. John indicates that those who left never really had a love for the Lord.

But there is a third category, which includes those who at one time loved their Lord but have left their first love. They were continuing to go through the motions of what was expected of them as Christians but there was little love left. Jesus tells them in Revelation 2:2-4, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

How could those who at one time had such a zealous love for their Lord Jesus grow cold? Maybe it was because they didn’t, “continue(d) steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” If you have lost your love for the God and for the things of God what can you do? Jesus says to the Ephesians, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works (Revelation 2:5a).”

Have you been continuing to read study, meditate, and memorize the Word of God which is the “apostles’ doctrine?” Have you continued to assemble on a regular basis with other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25) which is “fellowship” and “breaking of bread?” Have you continued to talk (“prayers”) to the best friend you will ever have – your Lord Jesus? If not most likely you as did the Ephesians need to return to the first things. And if you still have a great love for your Lord be sure to keep that love in good condition by continuing in those first things.

(Staying in love does not just happen it does require some continuing effort.)

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