“For 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
The word “compel” in this verse has always struck me. Dictionary.com defines compel as “a force or drive.” It is the gravitational pull towards something that will not let you go until you move in the forced direction. *
The IVP New Testament Commentary lists the Greek word for compel as “synecho” meaning to grasp or to envelope something so that it doesn’t slip away. “The idea is that Christ’s love completely controls and dominates Paul so that he has no option but to preach.”1
When my kids were little, they went through a phase where they constantly picked on one another. No matter what I said or how I separated them. They. Could. Not. Stop. They were compelled to irritate the fire out of each other.
That’s how I envision Paul here. He could try to walk away from his calling but something or Someone would always be there to draw him back. To compel him to tell the story of Jesus.
What are you compelled to do in your life? I think there are many things that we want to do, like to do, and often do. But which of those things are like breathing to us? Which things could we not stop doing if we tried?
Personally, I am compelled to write. As an extreme extrovert, I’ve often been told that I have lots of words. Lots of words. I’m fascinated by their spelling, their sounds, their meanings. Love, love, love the words! So writing is good because it helps me to use up a lot of those words. I guess my friends and family are glad that I write, otherwise they’d have to listen to me even more than they already do!
I am compelled to minister. I’ve often said that I have a sign on my forehead that says “Tell Me What’s on Your Mind.” No matter where I go, I usually run into someone somewhere that has a story to tell. I love to sit and listen to the stories, to share in the experiences, to find the commonalities in our lives. To use our stories to minister to one another.
I’m also compelled to point others to Jesus. My life has been so dramatically changed by the person, power, and provision of Jesus that it would be just downright ungracious of me not to lift His name. As we understand the sacrifice Jesus made for us and how our lives are changed because of it, we are compelled to share His story.
You are probably compelled to different things than me. Not everyone writes or ministers. Not to mention that the driving force may change our direction during the different seasons of life too.
But we can all share the love of Jesus that compels us to tell others the good news. In fact, I would argue that when we truly understand who we are in relation to who He is, we won’t have a choice but to tell others. Nothing could make us stop. Nothing.
For Christ’s love compels us…
*This article was originally written/published by the author under the title “Compelled.”