The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:14,” For Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” The word “compels” appears in some translations as “controls” “rules” or “constrains.” All of the words with perhaps the exception of “constrains” are viewed as positive words. Compel means to force or drive. Constrain means also to force or oblige and it can mean to confine forcibly by bounds. Paul is saying that Christ’s love has become so real in our lives that it is a force and a compelling force that we order our lives by, and it is to control our thoughts and actions. The word constrains, though often seen as something restraining or constricting, is a word of boundary. In essence, the Love of Christ sets the limits for my life! Why do we have this compelling love in our lives? What does the convincing, constraining love of Christ accomplish in our lives?
If you are convinced that Christ died for you, that He loved you with that kind of love, you cannot do less than submit to His rule and Lordship of your life. This love is a part of who we are as believers. It is not something abstract, but rather tangible and real and it is a love lived in our entire lives.
The Love of Christ accomplishes many things in our lives. I am reminded of a story I read a few years ago that describes three things that happen when the love of Christ compels us.
Rev. Alan Stibbs, a one-time lecturer in New Testament at Oakhill College, had been a missionary with the China Inland Mission and described the course of the Yangtze River at one point in its eastward trek. On either bank, there were high, solid rocks that “constrained” the river in three ways. First, these rocks gave the river unusual Depth, since the flow of the water was held in and dug deeply into the riverbed. Second, because the river was constrained by the rocks and was so deep, it had a significant drive. Today, this drive is harnessed for the production of hydro-electric power. Third, the embankment created by the rocks guided the river, giving it direction. As Stibbs pointed out, believers need Depth, drive, and direction in our lives. The love of Christ should motivate us in these ways as it did the apostle Paul.
• Depth. Christ’s compelling love will give Us Depth. You could never plumb the depths of Christ’s love. It frees us to love others as He has loved us.
• Drive. Christ’s love is the empowerment we need to motivate and direct us; it is the basis by which we love others and live for Him.
• Direction. The love of Christ dictates our direction. Because He loves us, we can trust Him. Even when the ways does not seem promising or clear to us, we trust His love and follow His direction.
What is the driving factor in your life? I want my life to more and more be identified by the Love of Christ. May my decisions be marinated in the love of Christ. May I be driven not so much by ambition but the driving power of His love. I want to dive deeply into His love and love others in the way that a Christ-follower must. I am compelled to follow the example of our Lord.
Yes, Paul has reminded us of a great truth. Christ’s love does indeed compel us!