Love is a strong emotion like anger. Anger, if not turned into revenge, dies down as the time goes, while love intensifies by the passing of time. Love always protects and trusts, it hopes, and it perseveres. “Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4,5) It has a persuasive character. Some people say “Love is blind”. This may be true with ‘romance’. But real love is never selfish; it is reasoning and weighs the pro and cons of the matter. Apostle Paul says, “The love of Christ compels us” Paul was so captivated by the love of Christ that it became his obsession. In his letters he tells in what all ways this love of Christ compelled him. This is guidance in our lives also.
First of all, strong love makes one to make sacrifices so that one may enjoy the constant fellowship with the person who is loved. Paul says, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ ” (Philippians 3:8) To him the love of Christ was every thing and he was willing to forgo every thing else for it. Once we are attracted to and possessed by the love of Christ, we will be able to see other things insignificant and worthless. On the other hand, if we love other things more than Christ, it means that we are not in a deep relationship with Christ. Our passions and craze for worldly things only keep the love of God away. This gives us tension and real peace finds no place in our lives. So to have real peace in our lives, we must sacrifice other interests that are not liked by Christ and start loving Christ and His things. If we are not willing to sacrifice the things that are not helpful for our spiritual growth, then we are only doing lip service to Christ.
Secondly, if love is strong, nothing can separate one from this love. Again Paul says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …. No. In all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor any thing else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39)
This means that the attachment he had with Christ was so strong and inseparable that no opposition and evil forces could snap his relation with Christ. In this world there are forces that entice us and try to detach us from Christ. But if we are “rooted in Christ” the Rock of our Faith, all these forces fail and we will be triumphant by the Grace and help of God to stand firm in our love for Him. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5: 8-10) To be strong in our faith, we should have our constant fellowship with the Lord. The devil may try to attract us with different worldly attractions. To overcome the temptations that the devil brings, we have to ask Gods help by prayer. Jesus said, “Wake up and pray so that you may not enter into the temptations.” (Mathew 26:41) If we have the armor of God, we will be able to defeat him and be able to enjoy the true love and communion with our Lord who gave Himself for us. Try to avail this armor of God. We must be very cautious and alert to distinguish between the true and counterfeit joy.
Thirdly the joy of this love is so over flowing that it compels to share it with others. Paul says, “Woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel”….”I make myself a slave to every one to win as many as possible. To Jew I became one like a Jew to win the Jews. To those under the law I became one like under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law, I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but I am under Christ’s law) so as to win those having no law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak, I became all things to all men so that by all possible means I might win some. I do all these for the sake of the gospel that I may share its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9: 16-23) At another place Paul says “I am obliged both to Greeks and non Greeks, both to wise and to the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel. I am not ashamed of the gospel.”(Romans 1:14-15) He also enumerates the trials and difficulties that he had to encounter in sharing this good news of joy of the love of Christ. Thus he adjusted himself in all adverse situations converting them for the benefit and the promotion of the gospel, So this is a risky business. Also it is adventurous.
There is a satisfaction in facing the difficulties for the thing we love. He tells the reason for this. “For Christ’s love compels us for we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. And he died for all and those who live no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) This shows Paul’s joy and satisfaction in telling about the love of Christ to others. It also shows his concern for others that he might share the love of Christ. The burden on him was so great because he realized how much Christ loved him. Only when we realize how great Christ’s love for us is, we will be forced to return this love to him by our lives. We can tell others about the love of Christ only if we have this burden for the gospel of Christ. Our love for Christ is revealed by our commitment to Christ and the gospel and our zeal in telling others about it. It can be by our deeds, words and behavior. Have we this burden for others? This sacrificial love is the motivation for taking the risks. If God sacrificed His only Son for us, we also should take risks.
But unless one does not have this love, nothing of these things is possible. When Jesus sent out His apostles to the villages to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God, he told them, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Mathew 10:8) So if one is filled with the love of Christ, his nature, character and behavior change and those who see him will be attracted to this love. The love of Christ is like a magnet. The iron that is in contact with the magnet also becomes a magnet and attracts other iron pieces. So the one who is in contact with Christ also attracts others to Christ. No extra initiative is needed; God gives the opportunities and ability to witness this love. For this, a complete commitment to Christ is necessary. This commitment is to come by believing in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Once this commitment is made, the sacrifice, loyalty to the Savior and the sharing of the gospel to others come automatically. So the cardinal question is are we true to the love and Christ’s death? May God help us to this commitment.