What Compels You?
Independence Day is almost here. This a big Holiday for all of us. It is a day when we celebrate our freedoms. After more than a year of being cooped up, I would imagine that we will savor this year’s celebrations all the more. But is independence a good thing? What is the difference between independence and freedom? Are we really free or is there always something that compels or drives us? These are a few of the questions that I have been contemplating recently.
What compels you? It is a very interesting word: to compel. The dictionary defines it as: to force or drive, esp. to a course of action. When we are compelled to do something, usually that means the force behind the compelling is something far greater than us, so much so that we cannot resist. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul writes “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all…. that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Paul had a powerful experience of Christ’s love. It saved him not from a fiery dragon, or an evil schoolteacher, but from himself. From the horrible path his own choices had sent him down. This is something we can all relate to. Bad choices. It seems they can appear in our lives by the dozen. Let’s not fool ourselves. We have the capacity to really mess up our lives and our relationships.
Paul was no different. But when he meets Christ, everything changed. He got a new life. A life filled with forgiveness, grace, and unconditional love. Knowing where he had come from and just how far God had brought him, Paul could not just sit back and enjoy life and his newfound comfort. This powerful love would not let him. It compelled him to live not for himself, but for others, specifically so that they might experience this same love. This was not simply a guilty conscience; this was a powerful force that drove Paul. It influenced every decision he made in life. It overwhelmed him. It compelled him. That is the power of Christ’s love. To change. Not just to bring about a different action or habit in someone. But deep change. In our character. In whom we are at our core being. Can you imagine anything more powerful than a force that could change a zealous, murderous, compassionless, arrogant, prideful man into a saint? A Mother Theresa like servant that would give his life for others. That is powerful! That is what the love of Christ is like. So, I ask my question again. What compels you? What drives you? Is it the love of Christ? Have you even experienced it yet? Have you tasted the wonderful freedom of forgiveness that it brings? If no, then why not? What are you waiting for? For it seems obvious to me that most of us are driven by something. Why not let it be something that will bring about a peace that surpasses understanding?