When someone sets a standard and I reach it only to find they just increased their requirements, I get frustrated and even angry. Will I ever be good enough to please that person? Or will I always fall short?
Jesus doesn’t treat me like that. First, He loves me just as I am. “God shows His love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. (Romans 5:8, personalized) He didn’t wait until I was a better person, or until I was perfect, which couldn’t happen anyway. His love never depends on me; it is about Him. He loves because He is love. This is the love that Paul is talking about in these verses:
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)
Paul was impelled, motivated, urged to action because he was controlled by the love of Christ. Do I know what it means to be motivated like that? Is the Spirit of God moving my life in that same unhindered way?
At best, I can say ‘now and then’ which then suggests I consider what else motivates my actions. Is it the desire to impress? Is it a human love which is more concerned about results and personal benefit than what the love of Christ might do for others? Is it fear, or guilt? Most people don’t like to talk about their motives. We either know that they are selfish and wrong, or we have no idea why we do what we do.
However, when Christ comes in and regenerates our hearts, the focus begins to change. By the Spirit of God I started to realize what God had done for me and that I should be a witness to others about the marvel of being made a new person by the power of Jesus.
Yet it takes time to realize that there is a deeper witness, not a witness to what Jesus can do. Instead He calls me to being a “witness unto Me” – this is showing that all of my life belongs to Him.
It is also a witness to the reality that everything that happens to me is actually happening to Him. This includes praise and blame, persecution and commendation. It is standing for Christ under the motivation of His majesty, His power and grace.
Chambers says that this kind of motivation is all that matters, but strangely the last thing realized by Christian workers. Being compelled only by the love of Christ may result in negative responses and persecutions, but because I am living and doing what I do only because of His love, I will not care. Without any sense of self-protection or promotion, I can speak of God’s judgment and Christ’s love without any personal concerns.
It is not hard to see that such abandon to Him will bear fruit. It always points to the holiness and power of God, never to me. But I’m not there yet. I just know God pushes me toward something much greater than anything already reached. What is most amazing is that no matter how high His standard, He is pleased with me whether I reach it or not!
The only things to report today are that Bob loves chicken soup (Jewish penicillin) and needs to eat lots of it, plus whatever else I feed him so he can regain the 15 lbs he lost in the last month.