The Love of Christ…and Me
I once read of a young man laying it on thick with his sweetheart as he told her how much he loved her. He said, “For your love I would swim the deepest ocean. For your love, I would climb the highest mountain. For your love I would cross the hottest desert.” Then he concluded with, “And I’ll see you tomorrow night if it doesn’t rain.” I imagine she was really impressed, don’t you?! But doesn’t that little story say a lot? Love is so easy to speak of, write of (as in this article), and sing of. What really counts is living it right along with every form of the words we use.
The Bible says of our Lord that “having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them to the uttermost” (John 13:1). What do you suppose so attracted ordinary people to Jesus? Don’t you think they felt love in His words…in His openness with them…in His tender treatment of children, of the ill, the bereaved and the abused…in His patient way with them when they acted immaturely…in His refusal to give up on them…and, ultimately, in His determination to go all the way to the Cross for them? They knew Jesus was no hustler. He didn’t use them. He wasn’t trying to trick them out of anything. They had never been loved like this before…so purely…so completely…so resolutely. He loved them to the uttermost.
Some of them were suspicious. They had never known anyone without an angle. Some couldn’t accept it. They were too trapped in their own unworthiness to even consider such love. And some really didn’t want it. After all, what could a poor, unschooled, carpenter from despised Nazareth really offer them? But those who dared to receive Him and to believe Him became the “beloved” family of God (John 1:12).
We too have our troubles truly accepting and relying on the love Christ has for us. I confess that I have spent too much time wallowing in self-pity over my own unworthiness. Can Christ really love someone like me, I wonder. But the Book of books tells me…shows me…convinces me…that He does love even me. That is undeniable! So…I do not honor Him by endless self-examination, by continually focusing on my own sins, by ceaseless groveling in His presence. I once saw a poor old lady in Mexico City crawl on weary hands and feet for several hundred yards to get to her place of worship. And I am thinking, does God want that of me? Isn’t it possible to speak too much about our sins and our unworthiness? The constant taking of our spiritual temperatures causes us to waste energy and diverts our attention from God’s purpose for us in this world. There must be balance here. Of course, we are sinners. And Christ has died for all our sins. When we are immersed in the water, by faith, we are forgiven. But the gospel is not only about our forgiveness. It’s not only about us. It’s about others too. For God’s sake and for the sake of the lost world everywhere around us, isn’t it time that we throw our weight, with “astonished commitment” into the purposes for which God has saved us? The Apostle Paul was deeply involved in sharing the Gospel because, as he put it, “the love of Christ leaves us no choice” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Now…what about the love of Christ…and me? And you?