Why do you do what you do? Why do you pursue the things of God rather than chase after the things of this world? Your answer to that question will reveal both the motive and motivation behind all that you do.
Basically it comes down to one of two reasons: either we do what we do because of a heart that overflows with gratitude to God for what He has already given us . . . or because of what we are hoping and expecting to get.
Which is it for you? Does your heart beat for Jesus because of what He has already done for you and given to you? Or do you follow God in the hopes of what you will get? We either seek to serve God out of a desire to gain some kind of blessing or because we have already received it.
Christ’s love compels us. (1 Corinthians 5:14)
The word compel in this context does not mean what we might expect; when he hear the word “compel,” we might think the early Christians were “coerced” or “forced” to do what they did. Those words communicate the fear of consequences or a focus on some kind of reward. You could call that a “carrot-and-stick” approach to Christianity.
However, Paul’s use of compel in his letter to the Corinthians is as profound and powerful as it is positive. Paul was not motivated by fear of any consequence or focused on any kind of reward; rather, what he did he did as a result of what God in Christ had already done for him. The love of Christ was richly displayed in His atoning sacrifice, taking Paul’s sin and death and nailing it to the cross . . . this truth compelled Paul to respond to His Savior.
Christ’s love lifted Paul above the challenges of daily living. Paul kept the picture of a bleeding Savior hung on Paul’s cross before him—taking Paul’s nails, and wearing Paul’s crown of thorns—and this was the source of his strength in service to God. Paul was both compelled and impelled to live for the One who lived, died, and rose from the grave for him. He was overwhelmed by the love of Christ, a love that would go to such great lengths for the object of its affection.
You see, Paul knew what he was and what he was deserving of, which was nothing short of hell and eternal separation from the love and mercy of God. But instead of getting what he deserved, Paul received the unmerited, undeserved love of his Lord.
When you and I have been seized by that truth, we can begin to plumb the depths of what it means to live a life that is compelled by the love of Christ. Only when we are fully convinced that we don’t deserve anything less than the full weight of God’s wrath and judgment will the love of Christ begin to transform our lives. As the “chief sinner,” Paul knew he deserved the worst possible punishment, but instead he had received God’s grace and mercy. This Gospel truth renewed his mind, reoriented his heart, and redirected his will. Only Christ’s love can do that!
So . . . what is the “Why” of your witness? If it is anything smaller than Christ’s love, you will always be left wanting.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!