“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised”(2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV).
Yesterday we looked briefly at the fact that one, Jesus, died for all so that all could have life. That is foundational to a life in Christ. It’s bare-bones Christianity. The milk of the word. “You need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child” (Hebrews 5:12-13 ESV).
So, we understand that Jesus died for us all, and we hinted at a deeper truth in our lead text. We know that we must move forward from Christianity 101 or we will never know Jesus as anything but Savior. But before He became Savior, and every moment since, He is Lord. We are quick to claim Him as Savior, but slow to enthrone Him as Lord. Why?
The simple answer is that we enjoy sitting on the throne of our lives. We want to make the decisions that shape our lives. It is the cult of Self. This is perhaps the easiest inroad that the devil has back into our lives. It seems rational that we should love ourselves and promote our own self-interest. After all, how can we love God and our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves?
Having been to some very dark places, even to the point of despairing life, I can honestly tell you that even there one thinks only of him or herself. Ironic but true. Looking back at our text we see that Jesus took our death upon Himself, and has purposed for us to live our lives for Him.
Paul speaks at length about this in 1 Corinthians 12. He compares the Church, comprised of individual Christians, to a body. And not just any body. The Body of Christ. Each member of the body has a role to play, putting the body as a whole above his or her own desires.
When I try to understand this concept I picture someone who has an auto-immune disease, where the antibodies in the blood mistakenly attack the good cells of the body. When we put ourselves first, before God and before the body of Christ, we are behaving like a faulty immune system. We are bringing destruction to that which is supposed to sustain us.
Paul suggests a different attitude. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:3-8).
When we “gave our hearts to Jesus,” this is what He had in mind.
So then, there is more. God wants us to mature in our faith, to learn to put others first, to love with the love of Christ. But that isn’t the end.
Tomorrow we’ll conclude this look at More with a look into the future.
Blessings on your day
**Image from https://alpha.org/