In the first part of 2 Corinthians 5, Paul wrote about his desire to be with God in His kingdom. He compared this to being clothed by His Holy Spirit. God gives His children, Christians, His Spirit to live within and change them into being more like Christ. Since His children have His Spirit living in them, they long more and more to be with God and to do what He desires. God’s great desire is that all people come to a saving relationship with Him. Because of God’s love for him, Paul felt compelled by love for God to tell and show other people about His love. Paul said his aim was to please the Lord. His love for God compelled him to please Him by his obedience to Him to tell everyone in the world about Jesus. Since Paul’s chief aim was to please God, no other purpose took precedence. Things that could have taken precedence would have been fear for his life, security of home and food, stature among other Jews and Jewish leaders, and bodily health. Paul stated definitively what controlled him was the love of Christ (vs 14).
Understanding this from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, what controls/compels you? Do you want to be controlled by earthly, flawed emotions and intentions? Or would you rather be controlled and compelled by the sinless, eternal One, Jesus Christ? Jesus’ love for each person compelled Him to die the death each of us should receive as judgment for our sins. Jesus allowed His love for us to compel Him to die for us.
In this time of a worldwide health pandemic, what compels and controls you? Your fear of death and not having necessities? Instead, allow the love of Christ who died for you to compel and control you. Allow God’s love to control you so you help other people, are not panicked, and buy only what you need. Seek to serve others, especially those who cannot take care of themselves well during this time such as older adults, homeless people, people with immune deficiencies, people who are chronically ill, and neighbors on your street. Think of these people first, then you will be like Jesus who humbled Himself by taking the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7).
Are you afraid? Are you worried? Now is the time to pray and to talk to other Christians. Seek the peace of God that surpasses all understanding so your hearts and minds will be guarded by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Have the peace that Christ left with His disciples, not the peace the world tries to give, but His perfect peace so that your heart is not troubled or afraid (John 14:27). Put into practice what Christ has put into you and what He practiced, and God’s peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).
If you are not a Christian and want to have this eternal peace that comes from God, talk to a minister or a Christian. Pray to God asking Him to give you His peace and to help you understand His saving love. Believe Jesus is the Son of God, confess your sins, and accept Him as your Savior from sin and death, then God’s perfect peace will be in you. Have the peace Isaiah spoke about in Isaiah 26:3, “You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (NLT)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 [ESV])
Lord, please forgive me for getting panicked about my life during this pandemic. Please give me Your peace. Use me for Your purposes during this time so other people receive help and know You love them. Keep me safe in Your faithful hands as I give myself to You and show my love to You by obeying Your compulsion to serve others. Help me keep my mind centered on You and not the trials surrounding me in the world today. Thank you, Lord, for Your love and faithfulness. Amen.