Besides God, what else persuades you the most in life?
That might be an easy question to answer, but it also may be a difficult or disturbing question to answer. Our lives have been compelled by so many different things throughout the course of our days. What compelled us 10 or 20 years ago may not compel us today. I began to think about this when I was reading 2nd Corinthians 5:12-15. "For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."
Specifically, in verse 14, the NIV translation says "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died." The word constrain used in the King James text, means “To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force”. We have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts and this causes us to love God intensely. We desire to spend and be spent for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. In the New Testament the apostles endeavored to persuade men of the grace and salvation of God. It was the love of Christ that constrained them to act in this manner.
The word sunechoo [Constraineth us] properly means that the "impelling, or exciting motive in the labors and self-denials" of Paul was the love of Christ. It was this love which Paul showed to those he came in contact with and tried to persuade and compel them to Christ. The bible says that Jesus Christ so loved the world that he gave himself for it and His love for the world was a demonstration that people were dead in sins and needed a way out of that sinful life. We are now urged by the same love and we are prompted to acts of zeal and self-denial to save the world from ruin. Those of us who have been redeemed by the one who for their sake died and rose again should now live wholly for their Lord. Not for ourselves.
1 Cor 6:19-20
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
The love of God has a way of inciting and compelling more from our lives than would have ever been possible without God. We are the work of the potter’s hands and we are being shaped and molded into what God so desires us to be. His love should be manifested from our lives in all that we do, so that we example the Lord through our words and actions. We must be constrained by the love of Christ.
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
I desire to be compelled by God’s love to fulfill His will,
You can tell a lot about a person when they answer the question of whether they are a dog or cat person. There are certain characteristics that go with both of those animals that tend to be the exact opposite of the other. Dogs want to be loved any time they can get it, but cats want love strictly on their own time. Cats have a mind of their own and Dogs learn from their owners how they should mind. I can probably think of many more examples where they are different, but you get the idea. We can learn a lot about a person when they choose which pet they prefer. And if they are one of the weirdos that prefers neither, you realize that they obviously are missing some part of their soul and need prayer. Jokes aside, I believe there are even biblical examples of this question that prove true. I should admit beforehand that I’m a dog person, so this next part may seem a bit biased. In my defense though, I believe I am rightly dividing the word of truth.
At the end of Luke 10, there is a short story of two sisters named Mary and Martha. They’d just opened up their home to some very important guests and Martha was running all over the place. Mary, on the other hand, has made herself comfortable right in front of the most important guest, Jesus. This doesn’t bode well with Martha though because, just like any sibling relationship, the chores need to be evenly shared or you call them out on it. Martha, being wise beyond her years, decides she will bypass the argument and just address it with the one who is at the center of Mary’s attention. This is the point where I feel Jesus tells Martha she’s a cat person. The original text reads in verse 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” What does that have to do with being a cat person you might ask? If I’m being honest, not too much scriptural, but for the sake of my illustration I will attempt to add a little interpretation.
When we look at the current situation that Martha and Mary are in, we see a lot of similarities in our own lives. There are points where we are concerned with what we want to get done. There are other points in our lives where we are consumed by only what needs to be done. It’s not my place to tell you what you want, but we all know exactly what we need every single day. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.." (Matthew 6:33). In this instance, Martha was a lot like a cat because she was distracted by what she wanted. Regardless of who was in the room or what everyone else was doing, Martha had a mind of her own (just like a cat). Jesus tells her this very point and reminds her of what she needs all in two sentences. The truth is that when we realize we need God first and foremost we not only get something that can’t be taken from us, but we get so many other things added as a benefit. Regardless of which kind of pet you prefer, we can all agree that making God and the things of God a priority is the most important choice. When your Martha wants start to get the best of you, remember to be a bit more like Mary and focus on what you need. Seek first his kingdom.
Your fellow dog person,