“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
2 Cor. 5:14, 15
One of life’s marvels is the redemptive power of love. There probably aren’t many of us who haven’t experienced the difference that it makes to know that somebody loves us. We can be discouraged and about to give up, but when we remind ourselves that there are those who love us, we find new hope.
Paul the apostle is a fascinating figure from many viewpoints, but one of the most interesting things about him is his motivation. We don’t have to wonder what caused him work as hard and suffer as courageously as he did. He tells us. It was, he said, “the love of Christ” that compelled, or constrained him. The love of Christ governed his thinking and pulled his actions in the right direction.
But was Paul talking about Christ’s love for him or his love for Christ? I think he was talking about both because it’s not really possible to separate the two. Christ’s love for us moved Him to die for our sins, and in response to that love, we love Him and live our lives for His sake. Christ died “that all those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them.” That was the key to Paul’s motivation. Every move he made was an effort to show gratitude for the One who loved Him enough to die for him. And friend, if that motivation doesn’t move you, you can’t be moved. Motivation doesn’t’ get any stronger than that.
As long as we live in this world, we are going to have days of discouragement. We can’t fight on the front lines and not get wounded. But what a difference it makes to remember that Christ died for us! The thought that Somebody loved us like that can turn us around no matter what ditch the devil has dragged us into.
But there is a catch: we have to think about what Christ did for us. The redemptive, refreshing, strengthening power of that though it not automatic. We have to think it. And not only do we have to think it, we have to let it have its proper effect on us. We have to go to the cross and get the point of what happened there.