“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
What explains your life? By just observing your daily patterns of living, can others plainly see what defines you, consumes you, makes you tick?
There are two categories in which this question can be answered. The first is a worldly category. In this category, people explain their lives by their family history, their achievements, their wealth, their parenting expertise, their intelligence, or some other human factor.
Such factors, while not inherently bad, can easily be co-opted for sinful purposes. Because of man’s corrupted nature, we have a tendency to spoil the good gifts of life by allowing them to become what defines us. And that’s the real danger.
Therefore, we must turn to the second category: the love of Christ. For real Christ-followers, there ought to be no reasonable explanation for the way we live apart from His great love for us.
The apostle Paul wrote that only the love of Jesus could explain his life (2 Co. 5:14-15, quoted above). You see, Paul’s sufferings as an apostle were intense. He experienced every kind of affliction you could imagine. Yet he kept laboring for the advancement of the Gospel when, from a worldly perspective, it would have been perfectly reasonable to throw in the towel. Why? Because he was compelled by Christ’s love.
In his book entitled Weakness Is The Way, theologian J.I. Packer elaborates on this when he says that Christ’s death and resurrection provide the “desire, direction, and driving energy” of the Christian life. Packer concludes that, when the Gospel really lands on us, we’ll no longer settle for what the world says ought to define us. Instead “we allow Christ, who loves us, and the redeeming love he has already shown in saving us, and his loving purpose for our new lives, to impact us in their full strength.”
Like Paul, when we experience the fullness of Christ’s love, we too can become the kind of people who want to share the News of that love with those around us no matter the cost. Paul says that before we realized how loved we are in Jesus, we regarded others according to the flesh, but we’re to no longer see people that way (2 Co. 5:16).
Packer expands on this when he writes, “No longer do believers assess others in purely human, this-worldly terms.” Rather, because our hearts have been seized by Jesus, we are now compelled to move toward others in His love as we participate “in the church’s calling to make Christ known with a discipling purpose as far and as wide as we can.”
Sinners by nature being compelled to live with self-giving love? Only the Gospel can account for such a profound transformation.
This week, at LifePoint’s gatherings, we’re learning a new song that I believe will encourage us to live compelled by God’s love in Christ. When we begin to see our lives as Paul saw his, we’ll realize that what we need more than anything in this world is to worship our way into a deeper experience of the Gospel. So let’s sing this song together this Lord’s Day, longing for the unrivaled love it describes to be the only possible explanation for our lives:
Set List for Sunday, August 27, 2017:
Here For You by Passion (M. Maher, M. Redman, J. Reeves, T. Wanstall)
Holy, Holy, Holy (Savior And King) – Gateway Worship (W. Beach, J. B. Dykes)
How Great Is Your Love by Passion (K. Stanfill, P. Wickham, B. Younker)
O Come to The Altar by Elevation Worship (C. Brown, M. Brock, S. Furtick, W. Joye)
Man Of Sorrows by Hillsong Worship (M. Crocker, B. Ligertwood)
You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.