The Sustainable Love of Christ All Used Up
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.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
When Jesus said “As I have done for you, you should do for each other” He wasn’t just talking about foot washing. He was talking about service and care and sincerity and compassion. We are truly no longer living for ourselves, but for others.
A lot of us have already lived for others for a long time. We’ve lived for others’ approval, others’ acceptance, others’ attention, others’ love, others’ honor— you get the idea. That’s not what Jesus had in mind.
It was for our sake that Jesus died and was raised. It was for our holiness and closeness to God. Yes, we get love and joy and peace out of the deal, but the ultimate goal was to reconcile us, full of sin and rebellion, to God who dwells in perfect light. In being reconciled to God, we can have a relationship with Him again like Adam and Eve had in the garden.
We can now talk to God face to face. We can “come boldly before the throne of grace” as Paul puts it in Romans. Jesus did that work for that purpose.
So now, we no longer live for ourselves, but for Him. We no longer live for our own goals and desires, but we live for Jesus Christ to be shown off in other people’s lives.
That is one of the only things in the universe that works that way, but it’s true. The more I serve and love and sew the glory of God into other people, the more I see it in my own. The more I give away the love of God in Christ, the more I possess for myself.
That is how the Love of Christ controls us. As we look for opportunities to share His love, we desire it more and even receive it more. It’s sustainable and desirable, like a branch of grapes growing from the vine. If we have anything that looks or feels different, it’s worth re-assessing what we’re doing.