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 Corinthians 5:14-15
Have you ever been in love? Have you known the sheer joy of not being able to stop thinking about that special person? The wanting to always be with your beloved? You want to do little things and big things for her or for him, and want to tell others about your new love. It is exhilarating! Life-giving! When I was falling in love with my wife Rita, a neighbor happily told another neighbor: “Tim sure has a new spring in his step!”
I once thought of being a Christian as rules, duty, and church membership. Now I know that being a Christian is being in love, in love with God. Read Saint Augustine’s memoirs, Confessions, and see a man who, after long searching, finally found love: “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him is the greatest adventure!”
Read the apostle Paul, once Saul of Tarsus, and see another who has been captured by love. He writes in today’s scripture as a man in love: “Christ’s love compels us…”, such that he can no longer live for himself.
The Greek word Paul uses to describes such love is sunecho. It is a powerful word translated in various scriptures as “to compel”, “to hold together”, “to press on”, and “to excite”. Paul has found, or been found by, a Love that holds him together, presses on him, and makes life exciting.
Eugene Peterson, in his Bible translation The Message, renders sunecho as “His love has the first and last word in everything we do.” That’s someone who is in love! Or, the J. B. Phillips version translates it: “The very spring of our actions is the love of Christ.”
One night the teenager Samuel Trevor Francis stood on the Hungerford Bridge peering into the deep dark waters of the River Thames, ready to end his young life. But for a moment he remembered the love of Jesus he had been told about as a child, and he stopped himself. It was a life transformed by love that led Samuel Trevor Francis to write the words of the hymn, “Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.” His words are his confession of faith in Jesus’ love:
“Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus,
vast, unmeasured, boundless, free,
rolling as a mighty ocean
in its fullness over me.
underneath me, all around me
is the current of Your love,
Leading onward, leading homeward
to Your glorious rest above.”
I pray for you today, as I pray for me, the prayer of the apostle Paul for all who follow Jesus:
“I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18).
Here is extravagant, overwhelming love, beyond all knowing! May His love for you capture and compel you today! May you fall in love with Jesus!
A fellow traveler,