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Compels

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
- 2 Corinthians 5:14

Christ’s love moves us forward, keeps us moving, motivates us. Christ’s love compels us to worship him and follow him and serve him. Dig down to the bedrock of our faith and you’ll discover that Christ’s love forms the foundation of it all.

But if we’re honest with ourselves, there are a lot of other things that try to compel us that have nothing to do with Christ’s love. Can you think of a few? Here are some that come to mind for us …

Our guilt compels us (or tries to). We know we don’t measure up to our own standards for ourselves. We fall short. We fail. We disappoint ourselves. So we try harder. Our own inner sense that we’re not enough drives us forward … and off of a cliff of exhaustion, frustration and despair.

In contrast, Christ tells us that we’re loved and that we’re accepted. He pushes us to grow and repent and change, but all of that takes place under the umbrella of his tremendous compassion and affection for us. Christ’s love does for us what guilt never can.

Our sense of duty also compels us (or tries to). We feel the obligation to respond to God’s generous work on our behalf. Like Matt Damon’s Saving Private Ryan character, we feel like we need to “earn this,” to live a life worth of the price that was paid for it. But duty swiftly becomes stale. When duty alone compels us we stop acting like beloved sons and daughters and start acting like we’re God’s employees or (even
worse) his slaves.

The love of Christ gives us the emotional and spiritual energy we need to carry on the life of faith. Freed from the crippling burdens of our own and the world’s expectations of us, we’re able to move out lightly into the world to be light to the world.

Finally, our desire for affirmation compels us (or tries to). We can try to live conspicuous Christian lives and draw the attention of the watching world. Their praise rings in our ears. But the love of applause soon steers us astray, for the crowds will applaud our failures as readily as they’ll applaud our faithfulness. Steered by human affirmation, we’ll lose our way.

Christ’s love directs us through the unknown future and into the narrow and beautiful paths that he’s laid out for us. His love draws new, risky, courageous steps out of us on even the most unfamiliar terrain. His love keeps us moving.

Look back over the last couple of months. What’s been compelling you? How have you experienced the love of Christ?

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