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A LOVE THAT COMPELS

A LOVE THAT COMPELS

By Erica Boutwell on June 15, 2017

Do you ever have those moments when God’s Word being alive and active gets super real? As spiritual leaders in our different capacities, we’ve all talked about it and referred to that sweet verse in Hebrews multiple times, but nothing beats those experiences when it becomes alive and active to us personally. Something else I’ve learned through these encounters is that it’s not uncommon for them to be meant for someone else besides you. So I’d love to tell you about one of those moments that happened to me. I’m confident that the message was blatantly meant for me, but maybe it’ll be an encouragement to someone else out there.

There I was, perusing 2 Corinthians 5. I was actually focusing initially on the piece about being a new creation, but in the midst of the passage, a phrase leapt off the page and hit me over the head with a supernatural force.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 says, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

FOR. THE. LOVE. OF. CHRIST. CONTROLS. US.

Other translations use words like compels, rules, and puts us into action. What does it mean to live a life compelled by the love of Christ? The conviction settled in deep that it should look much different than my life does now. I like to think that overall, I’m a fairly generous, kind, loyal, and patient person. But then I get woken up by the sound of my children fighting, or get stuck behind that annoying driver who clearly has no clue where they’re going, and I realize quickly that there are short limits to that generosity, kindness, loyalty, and patience. Why? Why can’t I seem to get this down? Then it hit me that instead of being compelled or controlled by Christ’s love, I’m allowing myself to be compelled by my own mood and feelings. And let’s face it, when those take over, who knows what might happen?

What if, though, for one day I chose to see everything and everyone through the lens of Christ’s love? What would be different? Well for starters . . . the way that I interact with my 3 sons. Imagine the changes that would take place in my home if I dealt out more gentleness. Please tell me I’m not alone in this struggle. What about forgiveness? We are so quick to attach conditions on our willingness to forgive someone. Yet Jesus forgave with no strings attached. Marriages . . . Someone once set the challenge before my husband and I to approach each day with the mindset of out-serving one another. What if that became the norm in Christian marriages and homes? Then there’s the Church! Some of the hardest people to love walk through the doors of our churches on a weekly basis. Some of them may even be serving within our different worship ministries. What would change within our ministries if we figured out how to love each individual, compelled by Christ himself?

For those of us lucky enough to grow up in the 90’s, you didn’t have to look far to find someone wearing a W.W.J.D. bracelet. What Would Jesus Do? It sounds like such a simple question. But at its core, it holds the power of life and death when it comes to our relationship to those around us. Taking that pause to consider Christ’s perspective changes a lot of things.

Something else to consider . . . living a life compelled and controlled by the love of Jesus offers us a whole new level of freedom. When we encounter the situations or people that normally drive us to those places we don’t like to go, there’s no longer any confusion about how we are to respond. Jesus will always love. He will always forgive. He will always deal in patience. He will always give of himself without complaining. He will always put others first. That seems to make the decision making process a lot easier, doesn’t it? If only that translated to our everyday lives as easily.

So how do we do it? How do we approach our days completely ruled by Christ’s love? I’m inclined to think that the rest of Paul’s thought in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 helps answer that question. The solution for us is found smack dab in the middle of the gospel. When we remind ourselves regularly of the cross, and the redemptive work that was completed there, adjusting our behavior and choices seems to come a little more naturally. Keeping the cross and Christ’s love ever before us, may we see those around us the same way He did, and may we let that same love dictate our every move. That, my friends, has the power to bring a little Heaven to earth!

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Erica Boutwell

Erica Boutwell

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