January 1, 2015

Read: 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15

One phrase stands out to me in this passage: God's love compels me( "controls me" in NLT). I am a person who still writes New Year's Resolutions. So this time every year, I'm seeking God's words to me about changes in my life.  As I pondered that phrase, I had to ask myself if God's outrageous love, that was evidenced by His sacrificial death, controls and compels me to do anything. Is His love better than life? (Psalm 63:3) To be honest, I'd have to admit that a lot of what I do is self-seeking and self-centered, and not because of His outrageous love for me. But since Christ dwells within, His love is in me.  What is blocking that emotion from becoming such a strong passion in my life that everything I do is motivated by His love? Too much of me for sure.  

Some of the answers to my dilemma are in Paul's other letters. Philippians 2:5-8 says I need the mind of Christ who emptied Himself and became obedient to death. Galatians 2:20 says I am crucified with Christ. A dead person has no desires of his/ her own. If I am empty of self and dead to self, then His love can empower and compel me to do His work and His service in a lost and hurting world.

A preacher I heard last week challenged me to commit to the following, “If Christ can wash the disciples feet (with tenderness and love), then I can _________". And so for 2015, I can take care of aging, and sometimes irritating parents with His love.  I can love that person who hurt me so deeply.  I can be courageous in sharing my faith. I can pray for a government leader who opposes my values. I can befriend my Muslim and Hindu neighbors.

How many things could you do with and because of His empowering, compelling love? Does that love control all you say and do? Pray with me about making that commitment in  2015.

Pray: 

Adoration: God is holy, mighty, gracious, and merciful. Spend time declaring your love for Him and expressing your thoughts of praise and worship. 

Confession: Ask God to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge these to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness. 

Thanksgiving: Express your thankfulness to God for the blessings He has given you. When we consider that we deserve punishment because of our sinfulness, and instead God gives to us His love and mercy, our only response should be one of thankfulness. 

Supplication: Petition God to help you be a faithful steward of your time, talents, possessions, and relationships.  Offer prayers concerning your activities for this day and any special concerns you have.  Intercede for your local, state, and national governments.  Pray for spiritual revival in the nation and offer prayers regarding any current events and concerns.