For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one 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 (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 ESV).
Our world has increasingly become more sedentary. These sedentary lifestyles contribute to millions of deaths every year. People who can move, and do not, are not healthy. So many health officials recommend moving. Move anywhere as long as you are not sitting.
We were not created for physical inactivity. Nor were we reborn for spiritual inactivity. In the early days the church was referred to as “The Way” (Acts 24:14). The Christian life is called a walk (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:6, et al.) and a race (Hebrews 12:1).
Over twenty times Jesus called people to follow him. Jesus does not want us to sit still. He wants us to stretch ourselves and go places we would not otherwise desire to travel (1 Peter 2:21). Paul was constantly “straining forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
But we must move with purpose and direction. Simply moving anywhere, just to be on the move, is dangerous. The race has a course that is to be completed. For this reason, Paul said, “I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26).
Some run from one position to another, never settled, never firm. Yet Paul indicates that in order to be presented to God as holy and blameless one needs to “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:23a).
How do we achieve this balance? How can we be constantly moving but never moving away from the truth? How can we be constantly straining but always stable? How do we have a poised pursuit?
The answer, according to the Holy Spirit, is that we allow the love of Christ to control us (2 Corinthians 5:14). While some translations indicate a compelling force (NIV, HCSB), and others a constraining one (KJV, ASV), the truth is that the word holds both meanings. BDAG gives two definitions that bear upon our passage: 1) “to provide impulse for some activity, urge on, impel,” and 2) “to hold within bounds so as to manage or guide, direct, control.”/1 The love of Christ has the power to compel and constrain.
When we need to move, the love of Christ controls us. When we need to stand firm, the love of Christ controls us. Grow, move, and run the race, but stay in the light (1 John 1:7). Allow the love of Christ to control you.
1/ William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 973.