Controlled by Love
The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died. -2 Corinthians 5:14
"The Christian life is a war. We are called to battle the world's deceptions, our own sinful desires, and our enemy's treachery." For some, we feel like we have battled for years, others have been battling a short time. The reality is that it is hard to admit that we have experienced failures and are not the people we have been trying to be. In fact, this reality humiliates my prideful self. "It is easy to say that we are fighting this war for God." Is that really truth? Elyse writes about two different thoughts concerning this war, "If we are self-righteous, demanding, proud, or critical of others' failures when we succeed, then we are not fighting this war out of love for God." The truth of that is that I am participating in this war for the glory of myself. "On the other hand, if we're self-condemning, unbelieving, and angry with ourselves when we fail, then we're fighting because we long to approve of ourselves, and we despair when we can't."
If you visited a bookstore (Christian or secular), you would encounter lots of self-help books. Christians want to change, people in our world want to change. Most of these things don't seem so bad. Who doesn't want to be healthy, overcome addictions, be more organized, etc? Here's the problem, "self-improvement isn't a Christian construct; death and resurrection are." Wow! Check out 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, "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." The Bible says that all are dead, you know what dead people do? Nothing. This shows our need for resurrection. Another self-help book is not the solution. Resurrection is. "When He died, He died for us. When He was raised, we were raised with Him." So, actually, you are not having to war on your own. "We will not be able to fight victoriously against our sins unless we fight under the the banner of the Gospel and thereby detach ourselves from our hedonistic plans self-improvement." Verse 15 says that we live for Him!
Think about your self-improvement efforts; they are meaningless apart from the love of Christ. The love of Christ compels, controls, motivates us! My effort to try to make myself better must be met with the truth that God is Who He says He is and the work that He has done. "Our longing to approve of ourselves becomes absurd when we survey the cross, our deserved end, and our undeserved resurrection. Look at the great love poured out there. Live in that love and war on." Well said.