Christ’s Love Compels

By Pastor Teck Uy

It is a common scene in sporting events to see cheering squads shouting “Hurrah!” This is to encourage their team and to motivate them to give their best. This is particularly helpful when a team seems to be losing hope. The cheering squad would double their effort to boost the morale and the spirit of the team. This is not only true in sporting events but even in the spiritual race we are in. It is on account of these cheering squads that Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” These witnesses are the heroes of the faith who are cheering for us and their message is that our labour in the Lord is not in vain.

Because of these witnesses, we are encouraged not to give up but to give our best. In fact, the witness of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ should motivate or compel us to press on all the more. The apostle Paul said, “For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15). There is no other compelling reason why we need to serve the Lord faithfully and wholeheartedly but the love that he has shown to us through his sacrificial death. The life that we live should project the sacrifice he offered on the cross so that we shall be seen as a new creation in Christ.

Therefore, the love of Christ compels us to love others. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35). Loving one another is not an option for those who are new creations in Christ. It is a must. This calls for a lot of sacrifices because you ought to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt 5:44). But knowing that Jesus Christ loved us, even when we were still sinners, motivates us to also reach out to those who are lost.

The love of Christ compels us to obey his commands. If we indeed love the Lord, we also need to be obedient to his commands. He said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him" (John 14:21). Our obedience to God should be prompted by our love for him. We do not obey because of fear of possible punishment. In fact, the apostle John said, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Because God so lavished us with his love, the right thing to do in response is to love him back, and the best proof is our obedience to him.

The love of Christ manifested by his death on the cross compels us to live victoriously. While we are still in this body, there will always be problems and trials that we shall face. Some of these will be very challenging while others are not. Regardless, we are expected to overcome them. The apostle Paul said, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). We cannot afford to let the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus be in vain. Just as Jesus overcame the grave, we also ought to overcome the challenges that we face for his glory. He left us an example that we may follow in his footsteps.

Finally, the love of Christ compels us to be expectant of his coming. He loves us so much that he wants us to be with him forever. In explaining his return to heaven, he said, “I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3). Therefore, let us be excited as we wait for his coming. In the meantime, let us heed his command, “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13). Let us keep ourselves busy serving the Lord.

And because we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses cheering for us, let us persevere in our walk with the Lord. Let us not be distracted but be focused. Let us encourage and cheer for one another. Let us allow the love of our Lord Jesus Christ compel us to Love, Obey, be Victorious and be Expectant (LOVE). Glory to God!