Compelled by Love?


Compelled by the Love of Christ
Why do we do what we do as Christians? Certainly it shouldn’t be to earn favor with God since we began our relationship with God on the basis of grace (Eph. 2:8-9) and we continue our walk with Him by grace (Col. 2:6; Titus 2:11-12). Rather, Christ’s love should be that which compels us. He loves us so much that He took the punishment our sin deserves.

The more we “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Eph. 3:18), the more we’ll want to do that which aligns with Him. The more we’ll want to serve Him and others because of love, not out of duty.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that … 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 Cor. 5:14-15)

What happens when we’re compelled by His love?

The love of Christ compels us to love in return. I remember my very first public testimony as a 13 year old after giving my life to Jesus. I said, “I love Him because He first loved me.” I don’t think I was familiar with 1 John 4:19 then but I was able to make the connection. When love compels us, we are never too young to worship, expressing adoration to Him because He first loved us.

When we truly grasp the love of Christ, we no longer want to live for ourselves, taking advantage of the freedom we have in Him. Rather, we “serve one another humbly in love” (Gal. 5:13-14). No matter what position we might hold in ministry, serving is all because of what He did for us so there’s no room for pride and self-ambition.

We want others to experience His love as well. And so, we’re compelled to witness to those not yet in a relationship with Him because of His love. We’re also moved to build up fellow believers, praying that their “love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (Phil. 1:9). As Jesus told Peter, if we love Him, we’ll feed His sheep (Jn. 21:15-17).

In addition, when compelled by His love, we’ll not only give willingly and cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7) of our financial resources and time, but also sacrificially. — “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn. 15:13)

All that we do should be affected by and driven by His love.


Reflecting the Joy of the Lord in Ministry


Reflecting Joy Because of the Abundant Life Jesus Came to GiveIf we are going to serve with joy through the good and bad of ministry, our Source of joy must be “in the Lord” (Phil. 4:4). Jesus expressed His desire for followers, “that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (Jn. 17:13). Notice that He wants us to have the FULL measure of HIS joy, not a trickle of it or an occasional flow of it. He also said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it TO THE FULL” (Jn. 10:10).

Reflecting the joy of the Lord amidst all of the stresses, disappointments, and hardships of ministry speaks volumes about our wonderful God who is the Source of such joy. So, here’s the question we should ask as we look at our ministry: Are we reflecting the joy of the Lord, that abundance of life?

Evidence We’re Reflecting the Joy of the Lord in Ministry

Circumstances will not always be ideal in ministry. We will face challenges and complications. Some things will be out of our control. We will often have more to do than our schedules can handle. Despite all of that we will have certain qualities evidenced in our lives when serving out of joy that finds its Source in the Lord.

We will have …

peace regardless of the circumstances that enables us to endure. (Heb. 12:2; James 1:2)

hope regardless of the challenges that enables us to press on. (Rom. 15:13)

gratitude regardless of the complications that enables us to keep loving and believing in Him. (1 Pet. 1:3-9)

contentment that keeps us satisfied due to His love that enables us to have a song in our heart. (Ps. 5:11; 90:13-15)

confidence no matter what that enables us to remain unshaken because we know He is with us. (Ps. 21:6; Acts 2:25-28)

Do you want such joy? Remember that His joy is a fruit of the Spirit. We must constantly yield control to the Spirit (Eph. 5:18-20) and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26) rather than try to do ministry on our own.


Grace & Truth in How We Speak


So often we think we must achieve a balance of grace and truth in how we speak — just enough truth, just enough grace. Not wanting to be at one extreme or the other, we look for balance. Or, perhaps we feel there are times for grace but other times we must primarily speak truth.

Grace & Truth Isn’t Really a Matter of Balance

Jesus’ life shows us that grace and truth isn’t a matter of balance. He was 100% grace and 100% truth. He did not lay aside the one to become the other.
Grace & Truth in How We Speak When Christ-like

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn. 1:14 )

For the law was given by Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (Jn. 1:17)

Consequently, exercising grace and truth in how we speak is Christ-like. (Resource: Christ-like Communication for Church Leaders)

The Defense for Both Grace AND Truth

“But they’re sinning,” you say. “Sometimes people just need to hear the truth.” You point to Scripture which clearly states that God uses truth to sanctify people (Jn. 17:17) and set them free (Jn. 8:32). And, we’re to stand firm “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Eph. 6:14).

You would be right because truth is essential but so is grace. When people sin, they also need grace. The same grace that saves us “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12). We’re to stand firm in truth but we’re also to stand firm in grace (1 Pet. 5:12).

Scripture Exhorts Us to Speak with Both Grace and Truth

We are exhorted to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Notice that it doesn’t say “Show some love and then hit them with the truth.” Nor does it say “Speak the truth and follow it up with some love.” Both love (at the root of grace) and truth are to be present at the same time.

Grace AND Truth must be evidenced not only in the actual words we speak but also in attitudes and any resultant actions.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. (Gal. 6:1-3)

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Tim. 2:24-26)


Christ-like Communication


Jesus valued relationships with people and hence communication since it is such a vital element to healthy relationships. Christ-like communication makes such a difference in all we do. It only stands to reason that we follow His example if we want effective ministry.

Christ-like Communication Guide for Church Leaders

The Christ-like Communication Guide for Church Leaders encourages leaders to see such Christ-likeness as imperative, going beyond mastery of a skill-set to something that flows from the core of our being “for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Lk. 6:45). The guide includes implications of aspects of Christ-like communication that follow below.

The Way Jesus Communicated and the Content of His Communication Flowed from the Essence of Who He Was

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn. 1:4)

Being called “the Word” lets us know that Jesus came to earth to communicate what God the Father wanted people to know. He came full of BOTH grace and truth. He spoke out of the essence of who He was.

Other Specific Aspects of Christ-like Communication

Read through the Gospels and you should be able to pinpoint various aspects of Christ-like communication. Click on the following links to learn how Jesus communicated in these ways.

Be sure to check out the Christ-like Communication Guide for Church Leaders.


Biblical Spirituality Reflects the Spirit’s Work in Lives


Biblical Spirituality Reflects the Spirit's Work
While biblical spirituality ties into who we are in Christ, it’s the Holy Spirit who makes Christ known to us (Jn. 15:26). Consequently, we need the Spirit’s work, with a capital S, in and through us, to be spiritual.

How the Holy Spirit’s Work is Reflected in Us

First, we must acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is the one who makes spiritual realities known (1 Cor. 2:12-16).

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:14)

Second, we must walk in the Spirit in order to become who we can be in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the One who bears spiritual fruit in us, those Christ-like traits that enable us to not only “do” what we should do but “be” who we should be (Gal. 5:16-26).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)

Third, we must serve in accordance with the spiritual gifts distributed by and empowered by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-11).

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. … All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Cor. 12:4, 11)

Biblical Spirituality Results in the Spirit Working Through Us

If you want to assess your spirituality, ask how loving, joyful, peaceful, and good you are but also how patient, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled you are (Gal. 5:22-23). Biblical spirituality affects how we relate with others, not only if we’re engaging in spiritual practices. Remember that who we are also affects how we serve.

The Holy Spirit teaches us and produces Christ-like qualities in us but also empowers us to impact other people’s lives.

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor. 3:3-6)

… our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. (1 Thess. 1:5)

And, the Holy Spirit can bring a diverse group of people together, building us up into a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5) so we can “stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).

If we don’t see these results, we have undoubtedly not attained to biblical spirituality. We cannot “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30) or quench His work in our lives (1 Thess. 5:19) and call ourselves spiritual from a biblical standpoint.


Effective & Productive?


Who doesn’t want to make a difference now and for eternity? But, how does God identify effectiveness and productivity? As believers we must get beyond the world’s standards, defining our ultimate purpose and reaching our greatest potential in and according to Him.

The Potential for Being Effective & Productive

2 Peter 1:5-7 lists important traits for followers of Jesus — faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection (brotherly kindness), and finally love (agape, divine love). Verse 8 goes on to state that “if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Effective & Productive Lives

Note how all these qualities culminate in love. As believers we have the potential of living effective and productive lives by loving as God loves. In identifying love as the Greatest Commandment, Jesus set up love for the Lord and others as the ultimate purpose in life. He said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40). When we love, we are doing the greatest thing we could ever do and exhibiting the greatest character trait we could ever possess. In 1 Peter 4:8 we’re exhorted, “Above all, love.” Certainly then, when we love as He loves, we’re reaching our potential in Him.

The Process Leading to Effectiveness & Productivity

We don’t get saved one day and wake up the next filled and overflowing with God’s love. According to 2 Peter 1:5-8, reaching our potential to love as God loves, requires certain traits being built into our lives with love being the ultimate. We must “make every effort” to keep progressing toward this ultimate purpose. When the Apostle Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12), he was acknowledging that reaching our potential in Him isn’t automatic. It’s a journey, an ongoing growth process.

The Problem that Halts the Growth Process

Notice how perseverance sits in the middle of the traits listed in 2 Peter 1:5-8. If we don’t persevere, we won’t make it to love. And, without love, all our efforts are meaningless, hallow, just noise. And, we “gain nothing” without love according to 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

If we don’t keep increasing and progressing in the growth process, we won’t reach God’s ultimate for our lives. — “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:8) Believers who do not possess these qualities are “nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins” (2 Pet. 1:9).

The Plan for Persevering

To persevere, we need focus, not on a process but rather on a Person. Jesus provided the ultimate expression of love in dying on the cross for us. — “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn. 15:13). We mustn’t forget what Jesus did in order for us to be cleansed from our sins. We must “fix our eyes on Jesus” so that we can “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb. 12:1-2). He went before us, setting an example for us to follow.

The Power to Live Effective & Productive Lives

Fixing our eyes on Jesus must be more than looking at or following His example. We don’t have it within ourselves to love as He loves. How, then, can we ever live effective and productive lives? We must look at Jesus not only as our Standard but also as our power Source. Jesus Himself said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). As a branch pulls on the sustenance and strength of the vine, so we must look to Jesus if we have any hope of living life with purpose and making an eternal difference.

How appropriate that within the context of the verses we’ve been looking at in 2 Peter 1, we find verse 3. — “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”


  • The Church Purpose Ministry Manual could be a starting point for leaders and leadership teams to work through living life with purpose as a church in order to make a greater difference.
  • As church leaders model this in the decisions and ministry of the church, you are then ready to teach the congregation. The Living Life with Purpose Curriculum will help adults in your church reach their potential in loving God and loving people in all aspects of their lives.