Living it out! - Compelling Love
Jesus said, in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” What a powerful statement! More powerful still is His acting upon that statement. Jesus’ love for humanity is so strong that it compelled Him to lay His life down in our place. John 8 captures the power of this love. The Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who was caught in her sins- sins that warranted stoning. Today, we would be just as quick to throw stones of judgment and condemnation. Her sins were exposed before Him. The decree of the law was quoted; the wages of sin is death. That day, Jesus was able to look her in the eye and say, “neither do I condemn you…”. It is as if He was saying, “I take your death sentence upon myself, and I set you free- because I love you.” The love that He showed to a guilty woman is the same love that compelled Him to go to the cross, and it is the same love that He has revealed to us.
There is no greater love than what we have received from our Savior as He laid His life down for us. As Christians, the Spirit empowers us to spread His love. Jesus said, in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Christian, it is our love that defines us! It is a love that compels us. “Compel” is a strong word. It includes the idea of being driven to do something. The same love that compelled Jesus to serve humanity on the cross, is the same love that should compel us.
This love compels us to respect the dignity of every person. Jesus demonstrated this with the woman who was caught in adultery. He did not endorse her sin; in fact, He offered deliverance. However, He loved her even while she was guilty. It was a love that respected her dignity after her sins were publicly exposed. The love of Christ compels us not to focus upon the disagreeable lifestyle or the difference in politics but on the dignity of the person, recognizing that every individual is made in the image of God and needs a Savior just like us. Respecting the dignity of others enables us to recognize that we are not all that different from each other.
This love compels us to sacrifice for our neighbors. This is the act of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Ours is a love that compels us to serve generously the people within our sphere of influence. Building relationships is a vital part of this. As relationships grow, we discover ways in which we can serve. God may call you to step outside of your comfort zone during this process. Just remember, it is His love that is compelling you.
This love compels us to cultivate unity with our faith family. There are many debates, both religious and secular, that cause division. Paul urged Christians in Ephesians 6:3 to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The love of Christ compels us to recognize each other as essential members of the Body of Christ. All disagreements and differences of opinion should be secondary to this. This love that makes us eager to maintain unity is how the world will know that we are His disciples.
Jesus gave His life on the cross because of a love that compelled Him to do so. That gift empowers us to live a life of compelling love. There are people in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and church that just need to know we love them. We love them no matter where they are or where they have been or what they have done. Our world is yearning to understand what true love is.
Christian, if they do not see it being lived out in our lives, then where will they see it? How is the love of Christ compelling you?