“For the love of Christ compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Cor. 5:14-15
I love the wording here, that as Christians our love for Christ should compel us. I had to look up this word to grasp the full meaning. According to the dictionary, this word means (to force or drive someone to an action). If you look at other translations of this verse, you will also find different words used here. The New American standards says, “For the love of Christ controls us.” Both are very strong words that teach us that our love for Christ should motivate us toward action for Him.
This past weekend Eric and I went to a mission conference where this was the theme. Compelled for Christ to go into all the world. As I listened to speaker after speaker, I was in total agreement with this. See many don’t understand why we would want to go live in a hard place. Many don’t grasp why we would move our family to a foreign land. There are probably some who think we are crazy and according to the world, this is true. Yet, this verse describes our reason the best I know how. Our love for Christ compels us to go, for we know that those who have never heard will die and be separated from God forever. Our love for Christ compels us because we realize so many long to study and learn the word of God. Our love of Christ compels us because we know He did not save us to live for ourselves but He saved us to go and tell others this amazing truth, that Christ died and because He died, we can live. We are compelled to go because of our love for Him.
Yet, I believe there is more to this than that. As Christians, our love for Christ should compel us to do many things. Our love for Christ and our thanks to Him for what He has done, should lead us to serve Him, to tell others of Him, to live for Him in the day to day. When we are having a hard day and nothing is going right, our love for Christ should compel us to hang on and keep trusting. When someone cuts in front of us in rush hour traffic, our love for Christ is to compel us or control us to have mercy. Our love for Christ is to compel us to show grace to others because we have been shown amazing grace. We will be prone to forgive those who hurt us, if we are truly compelled by our love for Jesus.
However, I believe this is the crux of the issue. Are we compelled by our love for Christ? If not, why? The Bible teaches us that we love because He first loved us. Yet, I believe so many of us fail to grasp the love of Christ. I know this to be true of me at times. Not fully understanding this great love. One of the greatest pictures of God’s love is painted in Romans 5:8 where it says, But God demonstrated His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We were enemies of God, separated from Him because of our sin and yet, even while we were sinners, Jesus came and died in our place, took our punishment for us, so we could be forgiven. We are also told in Romans 8:35-39, that nothing absolutely nothing can separate us from this great love. Because of this great love we are adopted as sons and daughters of God (Eph. 1:5). Because of this love Christ died and we can be forgiven (Jn 3:16). Song of Solomon tells us that His banner over us is love. Oh, to fully grasp this great love. I believe when we even begin to grasp it even in part, it indeed compels us. It compels us to live for Jesus. It compels us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It compels us to love our neighbors both down the road and across the ocean.
This same love reminds us that just as Christ died, we too are to die to our selfish ambitions and dreams. That we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him wherever He leads(Math. 16:24). It exemplifies the fact that we are no longer our own, we have been bought by the blood of Christ (1 Cor. 16:20) and we no longer are to live for ourselves, but completely for Him and for His glory (2 Cor. 5:15).
It is my prayer for myself and my family, that we “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:18-19).” Paul understood this great love, he understood who he once was and the amazing grace of God. He recognized he was nothing apart from Christ and his love for Jesus compelled him to go to the hard places. It compelled him to do things others thought he was crazy for doing. It compelled him to live for the Lord, to serve Him, to seek to walk in a manner worthy of Christ. Not because somehow these things made him holy or right with God, but out of his overflowing heart of love for Christ.
May we be compelled to love, to forgive, to serve, to pray, to be holy, to do the right thing, and even to go the ends of the earth out of our own love for Jesus and for what He has done.