My Utmost for His Highest
Paul said that he was overpowered, subdued, and held as in a vise by “the love of Christ.” Very few of us really know what it means to be held in the grip of the love of God. We tend so often to be controlled simply by our own experience.
When we are born again by the Spirit of God, our testimony is based solely on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But that will change and be removed forever once you “receive the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Only then will you begin to realize what Jesus meant when He went on to say, “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . . .” Not witnesses to what Jesus can do— that is basic and understood— but “witnesses to Me . . . .” We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward.
Are you a witness to Jesus Christ?
It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it’s the last thing we as Christian workers realize. Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and people could perceive him as mad or sane-he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for— to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of “the love of Christ.” This total surrender will always leave the mark of God’s holiness and His power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness.
The previous paragraphs were condensed from Oswald Chambers‘ entry for February 4th.
“…and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:15
For those in the ministry
Being constrained by love for Christ Jesus carries an additional responsibility for those who serve as witnesses or ministers of the gospel.
Paul shares two additional qualifications:
Restraint from Offense
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:3-10
The ministry of Saint Francis of Assisi is a perfect example of what is meant by not giving offense. He preached truth, he preached the risen Jesus, and he took care to never tear down another priest as he delivered the good news, but to remain without offense.
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:27
Isn’t the very heart of hypocrisy the minister who failed to overcome an obstacle, yet preaches that others must further extend themselves to scale that same challenge themselves, lest they be guilty of error?
Preachers who obviously stumble at the obstacles of gluttony or addictions, yet who preach on these very topics to their audiences disqualify the remainder of their message. Ministers, messengers, and missionaries who receive an extra portion of the Holy Spirit in the form of a call to service are held to a far higher standard than those who were not.
To consider how the vise of love for Christ affects daily life, click over to this related post that continues the message; Life is an Obstacle Course.