Compelled by the Love of God
2Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. (NRSV)
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. (NIV)
Paul's life was focused on one simple truth. His gratitude for the new life he had found in Christ meant that the love of Christ overwhelmed and permeated everything that he did. Different translations have tried to help us understanding what it was that Paul was trying to say. The KJV tells us that the love of Christ “constrained” him. In some ways this is an interesting word because it gives us the idea that the love of Christ was so overwhelming that it squeezed the focus of Paul’s life into one singular direction. The NRSV says that it’s the love that “urges us on.” We are hugged tightly by the love of God that moves us in a direction each and every single day of our lives. The NIV says that “Christ’s love compels us.” Again, this idea of being moved along because of all that Christ has done for us.
Paul’s gratitude for Christ’s death on the cross allowed him to recognize the overwhelming love of God that became the driving force of everything that he did in life.
When I stopped to think about this today I was a bit overwhelmed. If we truly understand holiness, we understand that it is the love of God so filling us that there is no desire left in our hearts for sin. Love excluding all else! This is what Paul is saying — love for Christ excluding all else and becoming the driving force for every decision in life.
God is calling his followers to a deeper walk with him and the Apostle Paul is not to be an exception to the rule, but rather he is showing us what is to be considered the norm. All of God’s followers are to be filled with Christ so that nothing else compels them. We are not to be distracted in our daily lives, but instead we are to be singularly guided by Christ’s love. When this happens then we are compelled, or constrained to act like and respond like Christ. God’s holy people are to look like our holy, loving, God.
Not only are we to look like our holy, loving, God, but we are also to be driven in our daily activities by the love of God. We should see the world around us through his eyes and seek to minister to those who need to experience his love. We should be urged along — or compelled by his love. Jesus’ heart breaks for the world; our heart should break for the world.
My desire in life is that I will be compelled by the love of God in all that I do. I want nothing more than to be squeezed by his holy love and moved in the direction that he would desire. Day in and day out — whether in my personal relationships, or in my work — that all will be shaped and formed by him.
Lord, may your love compel me today and every day. Amen.