A L O O K I N T O T H E A P O S T L E ' S H E A R T
DUI. Driving under the influence. It’s the leading cause for automobile accidents in the United States. Many have been injured or killed by those driving under the influence. Why? Because substances like alcohol and other drugs impairs the ability to think and, in many ways, takes over and begins to control the person. Many do not realize what they are doing while under the influence and/or cannot remember what they did later on. That’s the power and influence of things like alcohol and other drugs on a person—it controls their actions and thought processes.
In a similar way, we ought to be controlled by Christ’s love. While driving under the influence and the control of addiction substances is not a positive example, I believe it is a powerful illustration of how something can control us. But instead of being governed by alcohol or drugs, let’s be controlled by Christ’s love. As Paul shares in II Corinthians 5:14-15:
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has 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.”
Why does the love of Christ control Paul and his ministry partners? Because they fully understood the reason why Christ died for them. Christ’s sacrifice was not only meant to save and redeem us; it was also meant to give us life so that we might no longer live for ourselves and our selfish desires, but for Him. For this is where true life and life abundantly is found.
But what does it mean to be controlled by love? We are no longer our own. Just as the drunk driver is under the influence of a mind controlling substance, so also we as Christians should be so completely under the influence of Christ’s love that people no longer see us but the One who lives within us.
A practical example of this comes from the life and testimony of Corrie ten Boom. For those of you not familiar with her story, The Hiding Place, Miss ten Boom was a Christian living in Holland (now the Netherlands) during the Nazi invasion and control during World War II. She, along with her sister and father, opened up their home to provide shelter and refuge for a number of Jews fleeing from the Nazi Gestapo or secret police. The ten Booms were eventually caught and sent to concentrations camps where Corrie’s father and sister eventually died. Corrie, however, survived and lived to once again serve traumatized Jews and share her story throughout the Christian world, proclaiming forgiveness, healing, and restoration through the love and power of Christ.
After one of her many speaking engagements, she was approached by a man who she immediately recognized as one of her former prison guards. At that moment, Corrie ten Boom remembered the many cruel, harsh words and deeds this man had done to the prisoners. What happened next is best described in Corrie’s own words*:
That’s the power of being controlled by Christ’s love. God has the power to work through you, even when you don’t feel like being charitable or loving at the time. If you let Christ’s love control your life, God can do the seemingly impossible.
So will you live your life controlled by love? Will you join the Apostle Paul in declaring that we no longer live for ourselves but for Him who for our sake died and was raised?
May our lives be controlled by love so that the world no longer sees us but the Savior who gave us life!
*Excerpt from The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with Elizabeth & John Sherrill