Job 40:1-41:34; 2 Corinthians 5:11-14; Psalms 45:7-17; Proverbs 14:17-19
NT: “Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your consciences… For if we are out of our mind, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion, that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:11, 13-15 CSB)
Paul mentioned two forces in our lives as blood-bought believers that motivates us to actively participate in the Lord’s mission: fear and love. Because all believers will one day stand before the judgement seat of Christ to give account for their life as His servants, there is a reverence and Godly fear that motivates us to do what our Master has charged us to do. Good servants do precisely what their Lord and master directs them to do. Oftentimes, the ways of the Lord are contrary to the ways of the world. The Kingdom of God is frequently referred to as an “upside-down kingdom.” In actuality, the Kingdom of God is right-side up and the world is upside-down – but regardless – in the eyes of the world, a person following the directives of the Lord God will seem out of their mind. Therefore, redeemed believers and disciples of Christ do not do anything for the approval of the world. They do not fear man, for the fear of man is a snare (Proverbs 29:25). They seek only the approval of their Lord and Master and fear only the Lord – willing to look like fools for the sake of Christ.
Not only are we motivated by fear and respect for God, Paul also explained that we are compelled by the love of Christ. The Greek word for compel means to press on each side and move forward in a desired direction – much like a cattle chute that keeps a cow from going to the left or right and moves them in the direction of where they need to go. That is what the love of Christ does for us. The love of Christ is firstly the love that Christ demonstrated to us by giving His life for us. Secondly, the love of Christ is the love that we have for Christ in response to His love for us. Thirdly, the love of Christ is the love that Christ manifests in and through us by the Holy Spirit to others. That love compels us – it holds us together and also presses us forward to do what we would otherwise not want to do. Because Christ died for us that we might live in and through Him, the love of Christ compels us to die to our sinful past… die to the ways of the world… die to our own will so that all men and women would find life through the message of Christ that we declare and demonstrate to the world.
Psalms: “Listen, daughter, pay attention and consider: Forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Bow down to him, for he is your lord. The daughter of Tyre, the wealthy people, will seek your favor with gifts. In her chamber, the royal daughter is all glorious, her clothing embroidered with gold. In colorful garments she is led to the king; after her, the virgins, her companions, are brought to you. They are led in with gladness and rejoicing; they enter the king’s palace.” (Psalms 45:10-15 CSB)
The first part of Psalm 45 praised the Bridegroom-King. These verses speak to the bride and describe her process of preparing for the wedding. The Bridegroom-King is Jesus Christ, and the bride is the church. Here the bride is encouraged to forget the past in order to fully embrace her future with the King. That is exactly what the love of Christ compels us to do: forget what is behind and reach forward to what is ahead – to fully pursue the Lord our Bridegroom and His call (Philippians 3:13b-14). As we allow the love of Christ to compel us outward and upward, we too will be clothed with glory and will one day enter the King’s palace prepared for us.
Prayer: Lord, my desire is to be fully pleasing to You and to faithfully do all that You have asked me to do. Help me to not fear mankind more than I fear You. Help me to not seek the approval of the world, but to seek Your approval first and foremost. Out of love for You and the love You have given me for others, I forget the past, lay aside my own will, and reach for the things You have called me to by Your grace. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.