2 Corinthians 5:14-21 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
My Favorite Verse? This is such a hard question to answer, but when I am trying to explain Jesus’ simple way to live for him, and the personal ministry He has given you and me, I always end up in 2 Corinthinians 5:14-21. I realize this one is long but ... there’s much to learn here. It will obviously take more than one post.
The love of Christ controls us. Wouldn’t it be great that if each day as you went to work and throughout your daily activities, if the love of Christ was so in control of you, that everyone who you came into contact with was drawn to you, supernaturally. What if you were an encourager to everyone you talked to? If that were true, what would the impact of your life be on everyone you met? Would you have more friends? Would others be saying good things about you? Would your boss see you as a more valuable employee? Would people who hardly even know you now want to be closer to you? Yes ... to all of those questions. Right now, do you think others would say that your personality reflects the love of Christ? What can you do to see Christ’s love controlling you become a reality? First of all, you cannot force it, people are turned off by phonies. So, what steps can you take?
Having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died. The first step is to come to this conclusion. When you accept Christ's "free Gift" of eternal life, your life is no longer under the control of lust and pride. The hold your old ways had over you can be dead, but you must declare it to be true and recognize the new that is now guiding your life. You can have the victory here and now, by living for Jesus daily. Remember, we are no longer to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Here Paul says, “the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” What old things have passed away? What new things have come? You need to make two lists and first, put off the old ways, and next replace them with new qualities that reflect the love of Christ. Your best bet here would be to do a word study on the love of Christ and literally memorize all of the verses that illustrate the love of Christ.
He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. This is the essence of Christ’s love. But it is clearly a Paradox principle. Your whole life since you were a child, your life has been about you. The human mind naturally unconsciously is thinking about ME. Books like “Looking Out For Number One” are best sellers. People in general are constantly striving to elevate themselves, they fret over how they look and how they are viewed by their peers. Becoming the smartest, the most popular, getting the best grades … winning is everything. What would happen if you switched that around. If you made a conscious effort to no longer live for yourself first. Could you even do it? Sure you could, but first you would need to pray that the Holy Spirit would guide you to live the love of Christ. Next, you would need to understand how that plays out as you relate to other people. And then live differently by the moment.
Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh. Another Paradox ... our natural tendency is to look at other peoples flaws and judge them accordingly. As long as we keep focused on them, we don't see the ways we do not measure up. The NIV says “from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view” Can you imagine, if we began encouraging the people in our lives who are not very likeable, what would that do to change the way people see you? They would be drawn to you, by the love of Christ. You would be loved by one and all, because of the Love of Christ that controls you and reaches out through you and grabs others. The Bible teaches us, Jesus has forgiven us for our sins, so why do we judge others? Because, that is the way our old nature has always done it. Comparing ourselves to the negative qualities of others, regardless of our failings, makes you feel better about yourself, sort of. But it is a negative reinforcement. Rather than changing ourselves for the better, it is easier to think “compared to him, I’m a winner”. But isn't that being a hypocrite and also not being half of the person you could be, if you would just allow the love of Christ to control you.
He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Remember, this is the key … Jesus wants to live through you and me and reach out to everyone in our circle of influence. But the rub is that we’re not Jesus and his ways do not come to our mind, naturally. We need help. We need to memorize the words that explain his love, so that when our mind is processing our circumstances, the Holy Spirit will guide us and our mind will replace the old thinking and allow the love of Christ to control us. We are told to work at it consciously, but eventually the Holy Spirit will take over and guide us unconsciously. The old computer program in our mind will be replaced by the word of God and we will wake up one day a Spiritual Man. Other people will look at us and really like us and be drawn to us ... because we care more about them than ourselves ... and then the love of Christ will control them as well. Our hearts will be changed. This is how men with a mission become a reality.
Steps to take are:
1. Put off the old ways,
2. Replace them with new qualities that reflect the love of Christ.
3. Word study the love of Christ
4. Memorize key verses to renew your mind
5. No longer look at others from a worldly point of view
Here's another thought. List people in your circle of influence that you will make an effort to reach out to and encourage in the coming month. Second ... Do you know anyone who reflects Christ's love? Call them up and let them know how much you respect them and how important they are to you. It would be a good idea to spend some time in silence with god, meditating on these verses and listening to the Holy spirit, writing down the ways the Love of Christ can live out in your life. You will be blessed!
Okay, I give up … What’s your favorite verse and why?
God Bless you my friend … Bob
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