“Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live. He died for everyone so that those receive His new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them.” 2 Cor 5:14-15 NLT
When I read the above passage of scripture, I realize how counter-cultural Paul’s motivation in life comes from. And as followers of Christ, this is the Christian DNA we need to encourage as we grow as His children. Sometimes I find it difficult to be motivated to clean the house, or love difficult people, or serve at the church. That’s because I can’t in my own strength. The gospel of Jesus’ love changes that.
Paul’s words above tells the Corinthian church and US why he behaves the way he does. Paul explains to them that he is working by God’s economy; Christ’s pattern and not the world’s. But what is Paul’s bottom line? His motivation? It is not because of a theory, not because of fear of judgement, not because of duty, but because of Christ’s love. That’s why Paul no longer lives for himself but for Christ. His perspective is totally changed. Paul can’t do this within himself. How does he do it? “He says, I am compelled, I am constrained,(held together and held in and held completely) I am controlled, I am made to press on by Christ’s love!” This is a love which outweighs all other loves known to the human race. It is a love that changes everything. It is a love which gives people the power and grace to face things and do things they wouldn’t have done otherwise.
Let me ask some questions for us to ponder in our hearts:
On those battle weary days, do you find yourself living by your feelings as your final authority instead of what you know to be true about God’s love through Christ? Has the gospel lost its power and meaning in your life? Do the world, your flesh and Satan pull you down at times so that you lose sight or doubt God’s love in Christ…. which then dominoes into questioning why you are a follower of Christ in the first place?
You know, I could easily say yes to all of these questions at different points in my life. And I would guess that most of you have as well. We may feel this but we must not stop there. Our Lord wants to draw us from that place. And if you are in this place of struggle right now, Our Lord wants to gently lead you back into the safety of HIS COMPELLING LOVE of the Gospel.
Let’s pray for one another and ask the God from scripture to “pour out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” And He will. More and more, Christ will be the motivation behind why you get up in the morning, why you clean your house, why you serve in the church, why you love difficult people. The list goes on. We can’t do this apart from God’s gospel grace and love for us.
But if we are motivated more and more by Christ’s love for us, our joy will expand while we live for Christ counter culturally and in God’s economy! Yay!