Compelled by Love

… Still recovering from my 15-month ordeal (see the last post, below).sleep Who knew I could sleep so much?

Now, on to a more spiritual topic.

I wrote a while ago about the sense that Jesus is calling me to greater intimacy, a call, I realize, that at some level I am afraid to follow.

I think one aspect of sin’s root is that God offers his love and we reject it, convinced (perhaps by our own experience?) that He will not love us well and that we must take matters into our own knocking-handhands. Therefore, we seek love in all the wrong places.

It’s not that I must find Him, but that I must respond to His knocking at my heart in a way I never have.

I am always moved when I recall the passage in Blue Like Jazz about a friend of author Donald Miller who interviewed Bill Bright [Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ]:

… as a final question he asked Dr. Bright what Jesus meant to him. Alan saibill-brightd Dr. Bright could not answer the question. He said Dr. Bright just started to cry. He sat there in his big chair behind his big desk and wept.

When Alan told me that story I wondered what it was like to love Jesus that way. I wondered, quite honestly, if that Bill Bright guy was just nuts or if he really knew Jesus in a personal way, so well that he would cry at the very mention of His name. I knew then that I would like to know Jesus like that, with my heart, not just my head. I felt like that would be the key to something.

I do, too.

I always thought Bill Bright had some amazing relationship with Jesus that simply drove him to forget himself and share the gospel.

I would like to have that, though it scares me a bit.

It reminds me of what the Apostle Paul said:resurrection

… Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Frankly, when I look back on why I’ve done ministry in the past, sure, obviously I am compelled by the love of Christ, but I am painfully aware of all the other motives stirring within and along side of that one, dross such as:

  • longing for the sense of excitement and power that come from seeing God work (through me!),
  • feeling like I am somebody special because God chose to use me
  • finding identity in being part of a community that’s working alongside of me

Who, me? I’ll stop there. No need to bore you with any more facts…

Today, I told my husband (a pastor between callings) that if both of us really knew Christ the way Bill Bright did, we wouldn’t care what job we had.  Because Jesus would be enough.

And we’d do ministry no matter what the pay or recognition or result. We’d want so much to honor Jesus. We’d be compelled by our love for Him.

shhMy husband told me I could stop talking.

Just a wee bit too convicting, apparently.

Dear Lord: I want to know and love you like Bill Bright did (and now does, for eternity), but I think I am afraid of it, too. I don’t even know how to proceed. But you know. Please do your thing in my heart. Amen.

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5 thoughts on “Compelled by Love

  1. I just “happened” onto your site here thru the first hit from a search I did on “because I am compelled by the love of Christ” and I am so moved by just what little I have read…I must come back for more! So rich, but then Truth is!! God is in the midst!

  2. Glad to see you writing again. Your voice has been missed.

    I think sometimes all we can do is ask to have more of God. While that seems simplistic on the surface, the more I learn, the more I struggle, the more I hope – the more I realize that’s really all I want. Just more of God.

  3. Since I posted this, I’ve been thinking. At first glance, one might believe that Bill Bright’s love for Jesus is the same as anyone who’s entered into that relationship. It’s what we all have as Christians.

    But I don’t think so. I met Bill Bright personally on a couple of occasions and I struck by the sense that all that mattered to him, or at least mattered supremely, was Jesus. He didn’t seem to care about Bill Bright at all. He had gone to a place with God that very few, VERY FEW, people ever go.

    I think we go through the Christian life sensing at one point that we love Jesus deeply, then realizing later how tarnished our love was. I am at a betwixt and between state now. I am very aware of how little I have loved Him, how much my love for God resulted from Him taking such good care of me. Though I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my life in the past, I realize now how much God gave me that allowed me to remain faithful.

    He’s slowly stripped much of those benefits away these past years. Sure, he’s given me a husband and kids and those are great blessings, but He’s also taken away some of the things that made me trust Him.

    As health, jobs, favor, ministry, are stripped away, I am left with the Cross. I can’t walk away from God because of the Cross (as my doubting series will attest). I am not yet more deeply in love with the man who died for me. I sense I won’t be until I am more aware of the depth of my sin. She who has been forgiven much, loves much.

    I don’t expect to reach the level of the relationship Bill Bright (or the Apostle Paul) had, but I pray that something deeper is on the way. I am ready now (or so I think) to be further stripped of self-reliance.

  4. I can certainly identify with the dross of impure motives. Years ago, I read an article by someone that said: basically, nothing humans do is based on an altruistic motive. Even if we run into a burning building to save our own child from death, we act out of our own selfish motive of not being able to live with ourselves if we don’t act in such a manner, or out of our own feeling that we’ll greatly miss that child… in either case, the motive revolves around the self.

    I’ve thought about that through the years. I don’t know if the author of that was a believer or not, but often the words seemed to ring true, as I considered them in various circumstances.

    Yet, I do think it is possible, only in Christ, to do act out of a motive much higher than ourselves– the motive of glorifying God, rather than ourselves. In fact, if we’re called to “be holy”, then we’re also being promised the way. The ironic thing is that when we’re doing it, I don’t think we recognize it. We’ve forgotten about ourselves and we’re acting out of a love– that we’re compelled by– and we’re not even aware we’re doing it. It’s a place I’d like to be, too. I was touched by the story of Bill Bright. Honestly, would I cry if someone asked me the same question? Wow! I want to be there!

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