Living out of Love

2 Corinthians 5: 14-15
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.

compel- to force or drive, especially to a course of action
convict- to impress with a sense of guilt
condemn- to pronounce to be guilty; sentence to punishment

Christ's love for us should compel us to live for him. Since we know that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world we are convinced that he died for all, everyone. This belief of Jesus dying for us should force us to a course of action, right? What is that course of action? To live for him. How do we live for him? By keeping his commands, sharing his love, and spreading his gospel. Are you living for him? As Christians, it should be our number one desire to live everyday for Jesus, completely on fire for him! Many of us do not act in this way. We do not display a complete desire to live for Jesus. We do not share his love and his mercy and grace with those we encounter. Most Christians are ready to judge instead of showing compassion to those that need to feel the love of Christ. We must stop living for ourselves and seeing the world through our eyes, we must start living for Jesus and seeing people, as they are, through the eyes of Christ.

How do we live completely for Jesus? We must do like the scripture says, we must die to ourselves. In Romans 6:6-7, it says, "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been set free from sin." After reading these two verses, we have to ask ourselves, did we die with Jesus when we came to salvation? Did we really allow our old selves to die? When you accept Jesus, he performs a circumcision of the heart. He takes out a heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. This new heart that we receive, allows us to live our lives loving Jesus and having compassion toward people because of our love for him. I get it, some people are hard to love. Our love for those people is our love for Jesus. You cannot love Jesus and hate your brother or sister. Jesus loves everyone, we too must love everyone and show them compassion.

In Galatians 2:20, it says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." This is what it is all about folks. Jesus loved us so much that he gave himself for us. Now it our job as Christians to give ourselves up to Christ and be doers of his word and of his work. Jesus did a lot of work in his short time on earth. He did not come here to finish his work, he came to get it started. He left us to finish the job with him helping us. It is not yet finished. If you truly love Christ, you must deny yourself, you must identify yourself with Christ on the cross and die to the old life, the old self. You cannot walk with Jesus and stay as yourself, you must die to life as you know it, pick up your cross and follow Jesus.

What happens when you die to yourself? The old life passes away and a new life is born for you through Jesus. The old things you did are gone forever. They die with the old self. This is a truth that we need to learn for the benefit of ourselves and of others. What we so often do, we give the devil a foothold because we beat ourselves up about our old lives and our old ways. We start feeling guilty and feel like we do not "measure up", we aren't "good enough" to be Christians, we don't deserve to live for Christ. These are all feelings of condemnation. Condemnation comes from the devil. The devil wants us to feel like we are not worthy so that we will go back to our old way of life. The Spirit does not condemn us, the Spirit only convicts us. The Holy Spirit impresses a sense of guilt upon us to keep from committing a sin, the devil tries to pronounce that we are already guilty of sin and have been sentenced to punishment. Why do you think that is? Human nature feels that if we are already guilty, what's the use of stopping? When it comes to others, we have to use the same measurement for them as we use for ourselves. If we were able to be forgiven and changed into new creatures, they too have been able to experience the same transformation, no matter the sin or the way of life. Most people think of this as judging and we hear the scripture quoted, "thou shalt not judge." I want to put a different spin on it, when we judge, we are playing the role of devil's advocate. We are attempting to condemn. We have to remember that our life, others' lives, are no longer remembered by God, we need not to remember them either. In Colossians 3:3, it says, "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."

If we love Christ, we have to be willing to live and die for him. This might sound crazy, but dying for him is the easy part! That's right! If we die for Christ, we know that we have a place in heaven with him. Living for him is the challenging part. As we live, we have to fight the flesh and the principalities of this world. This can be very challenging. But the true honor is how we live for Christ not how we could die for him. Living in him and through him is life and he wants us to live so that we may give life to others through him. His goal is to bring people to him for salvation. We cannot accomplish Jesus' goal if we are not living. He is master over both the living and the dead. In Romans 14: 7-9, it says, "For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." Now that we know this, what good is it to say "I wish I could die and go be with the Lord." He is the Lord of both the living and the dead and our life and death is his to determine. If we live, we live because of Jesus. We do not live by our own efforts but only by his will. If we are alive, it must be for his good purpose!! God bless you! We love you! Amen. 


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