What's There To Live For?
A daily devotion for September 13th
6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And 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.
16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 RSV)
Here again is the great motive in the life of the apostle--
the love of Christ controls us. Actually, controls is a word that means constrains us, drives us out, motivates us, and then guides us after we get there, that sets the limits to what we should and should not do. That motive, he says, comes from the sense that Christ loves us.
I do not know anything greater and more powerful as a motivating factor than that. I get terrified sometimes at what God can do to me if I do not behave. That motivates me sometimes. It is a low motivation, but it is there. But the thing that will get to me, when nothing else will, is the continuing experience of the love of Christ for me, a refreshment of spirit that I gain from the awareness that He loves me, He is for me, He stands beside me, He delights in me. Knowing that will move me like nothing else. That is what Paul is experiencing here--the awareness that God loves him. There is nothing like it. It gives him a sense of security, a sense of self-worth, and a good self-image. If you suffer from a bad image of yourself, then start thinking about what God says about you, how He loves you, and how Christ loves you and has given Himself to you, and that will change everything.
He also says he has learned that the death of Christ freed him from the need to live for himself. I do not know anything more relevant to the current day than that statement. Everywhere I turn I hear people talking about what they have to do to
meet their needs. Whatever they do or wherever they go is determined by how well their needs are met. You need to understand this important truth: Jesus Christ died to set you free from that syndrome. You do not need your needs met; He has already met them. You must learn that He has met your needs, because they will never be met by any other source. No one else is able to meet them. If you have that expectation of other people, you will find yourself suffering rejection at others' hands because they know they cannot meet your needs.
One has died for all, and that means,
all have died in order that they might understand that they live no longer for themselves. After Christ has met your needs, you discover that the secret to life as it ought to be lived is that you then turn and try to meet the needs of others. That is what Paul is saying here.
He died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves, no longer with their needs at the center of their life, trying to build everything around them,
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Lord, reveal more and more of Your great love to me. Let Your love meet all of my needs, and set me free to live not for myself but for You.
Life Application: Is the love of Christ the controlling motivation of our lives? Are we experiencing the self-liberating control of His love?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.