Actively bringing about much needed change in our communities and hope to the broken and disheartened.
I wrote a blog post…well, a long time ago now, entitled “The Power of Christ Compels You.” In it I wrote about how in the movie The Kingdom of Heaven the crusaders would yell that phrase just before running into battle. My actual post had next to nothing to do with crusades – it was about the healing power of Christ that I had recently experienced in my life. But I recently was drawn back to that phrase during a sermon given at my church this past week.
The verse that was used was 2 Corinthians 5:14 which starts off: “For Christ’s love compels us…” (NIV)
The majority of other translations use the word “controls” rather than “compels.” The ESV puts it this way: “For the love of Christ controls us…” (ESV)
I thought about that verse in comparison to the way I had heard it – be it in movies or from the crusade stories. If you google the two phrases you’ll find that one of them is biblical and the other is not. Seeing as how I’ve given you the reference for the “love” phrase, I bet you can guess which one isn’t biblical.
So where am I going with this?
Can you imagine what the world would be like if the Church didn’t twist scripture to it’s agenda? If the church during the time of the Crusades had had it’s motto as “The Love of Christ compels you…” then would there have been justification for killing? No. So what did the church do? Changed it’s motto to something more useful to the cause.
The Health and Wealth gospel does the same thing, taking prayers to “multiply my inheritance” as a promise that God wants you to live a rich and healthy life – all he asks is for your allegiance and he’ll give you all the wordly desires you can handle…but all of this in spite of Jesus telling his disciples how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom.
It’s a sad reality, and we can point fingers at everyone else for twisting scripture…but here’s my real question for this post:
Does Christ’s love really compel you? Does it control you?
I know it doesn’t control me. I control me. I tell myself how things go and what I do with my life.
Isn’t this true for the majority of us?
I’m not trying to guilt you, but wouldn’t our world look a lot different if “Christians” were actually compelled and controlled by the love of Christ?
Wouldn’t the hungry be fed? The naked be clothed? The sick and imprisoned visited?
It’s not enough to just give your money – it was God’s money to begin with. The first church sold possessions…all of them it says…and gave all they had to the cause of Christ. I give 10% toward his cause and 90% toward mine.
What’s it going to look like for the Church to wake up and be radically transformed by the love of Christ? So transformed that we no longer are our own – but we now are slaves to Christ. Not slaves in the sense of being held against our will, but that in all we do it’s for the cause of someone else. It’s not for me anymore. It’s for Christ. Why? Because He loves me…Why? Not because of anything that I did, but because of His great mercy and grace.
So to tie it all in: I’ve twisted Scripture to be what I need it to be so that I can control myself. I might sometimes take into consideration what God wants or how my actions may or may not bring God glory – but the majorityof the time I think about how things affect me. Jesus says I can’t serve to masters…God hates luke-warm believers.
Well, Lord, please show me what it means to be controlled by your love. Help me to understand how my life ought to be when it’s lived for you.