Compelled By His Love
Staying motivated in life can be hard. I’m writing this at the end of January and the New Year’s resolutions are quickly fading for us all. The new exercise regime is replaced by the old sofa once more. Veganism is supplemented with a bit of Bacon on the side! This isn’t the start of a self-help blog though; quite the opposite.
What motivates a life of worship to God? What fuels and drives the kind of daily offering we read about in Romans 12: 1, where Paul encourages us to offer our bodies “as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God”, or where the writer of Hebrews calls us to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise” [Hebrews 13: 15]?
The key, as always, is Jesus Himself.
“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]
Jesus lived a perfect life of worship. His was a sacrifice of praise, to the extent that his life finished with the greatest sacrifice and act of love of all: His death on the cross.
And the Bible tells us we should follow Christ's example. Here in these verses from 2 Corinthians, the encouragement is that we should no longer live for ourselves but rather, in a sacrifice of praise, now live for Jesus.
We will never find true life without sacrifice. There's no true worship without sacrifice. But sacrifice is hard because by its very nature, it’s going to cost you something. And to me, it can seem difficult to imagine staying motivated in this kind of daily praise. The good news and key from these verses, is that it starts with Him, not you and me. It’s His love that compels us; His love is our motivation; to keep singing through the storms, to keep sacrificing through the costs, to keep loving Him and those around us.
Not only do we have His example to follow but a daily experience of His love available to us. His love compels us. We don’t muster this up every day. Our worship is only ever a response to the revelation of His great love for us.
The use of the word ‘compel’ is actually very strong use of language; the point here is not that we are being pressured by force to love God back, but that we are responding to such a strong, extravagant and intentional love that as the old hymn says it ‘demands my soul, my life, my all’. The love of Christ becomes the motivating energy for our radical response of worship.
In building a life of praise, the key is to not dwell on all the things that have to be given up and sacrificed, or the radical decisions that have to made in our daily lives to honour God, but to dwell on the love of Christ for us. The extravagance of it. That it’s for you.
[Ephesians 3: 18]
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit pours the love of God into our hearts [Romans 5: 5]. Ask the Holy Spirit to do that now. Ask Him to do that every morning. Allow the love of Christ to become the motivation of your spiritual act of worship.
We love God because he first loved us [1 John 4: 19].
Paul has been a great friend of Soul Survivor for many years and is currently the Worship Pastor at St Peter’s Church in Brighton. As part of his role he heads up ‘Bright City’, a collection of musicians from his team, who have in recent years started to release their own music. Paul studied Theology at the University of Nottingham, where he spent his student days leading worship at Trent Vineyard. He is married to Sarah and they have three wonderful daughters. Paul’s songs include ‘We Believe’, ’Father’, and ‘Bright City’. We love you P.Nelly!