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Controlled by the Love of God

by David A. DePra

     There are two dynamics under which people are controlled in

this world, as revealed in the Bible. Just two: Fear, or Love.

     First, fear.  Fear controls people either by threatening them with

consequences, or by offering them a reward. The latter brings fear

into the picture because the LOSS of the reward is possible. This

loss becomes the consequence and the back-handed threat.

     Love, on the other hand, makes no threats. Love just...well...loves.

By definition, love is voluntary and free. It seeks only God's best

and highest for the one loved.

     Here is a good definition of agape -- the love of God: The love

of God is an unconditional surrender unto God's highest for the

one loved, regardless of personal cost to them, or to myself.

     Now the question here would be: How is that "control?" Well, it

actually isn't. Not involuntary control. While fear can get people to

do things they would not otherwise do, love does not. The moment

I am in an involuntary mode, I'm am not in love.

     The incredible Truth in all of this is that God NEVER controls His

people with fear. Never. This is an incredible statement because

most of us think that is pretty much ALL God does: Make threats to

get us to obey Him. We know little of the love of God.

Love "Controls"

     The Bible talks about love controlling Christians in Paul's

second letter to the Corinthians:

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if

one died for all, then were all dead. And that He died for all, that

they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto

him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore, henceforth,

know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ

after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore,

if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed

away; behold, all things are become new. (II Cor. 5:14-17)

     Now notice something here. When Paul says, "the love of Christ

constrains, or controls, us," he is not talking about an involuntary

kind of control. He is talking about a motivation. He is saying that

because Christ died for them, and because they have received the

gift of God from on high, that they can no longer live for themselves,

but for God. Yet STILL not involuntary. In effect, Paul is saying that

the reality of the Redemption, the grace of God, and the love of God,

are so overwhelming, that they cannot but help do God's will.

     Here we see what happens when a person sees the Truth, and is

set free. Here we see what happens when a person has a grasp of

reality. They cannot resist it. But not because they are forced or

threatened. No. They cannot resist it because it is too wonderful.

     Do you see something here? The dynamic for a Christian -- the

motivation under which we live -- is an irresistible love for God. In

other words, my reason for obeying God is supposed to be

because God is too wonderful to resist. NOT because God is so

mean that I dare not disobey.

     We know little of this Truth as a governing motivation. Everyone

knows how to obey God out of fear. We all have enough brains to

do what we need to do to keep out of trouble. But how many of us

know about a reality in Jesus Christ that is so real and so life

changing, that we obey God because He is so wonderful we don't

want to violate Him, or deny Him?

Fear vs. Love

     All fear, of course, goes back to somewhere I have embraced a

lie about God. Since there is nothing in God which can incite fear in

me, fear is based in a lie about Him. And make no question, fear

can be a big motivation for living.

     If you can get people to fear, you can get them to do most

anything. And if you can make them afraid of God, you will have

them under your power. There is no greater bondage.

     Of course, there is a proper "fear of the Lord." But the "fear of

the Lord" is NOT "being afraid of God." Rather, it is reverence for

Him. It is attributing value to Him. Thus, the proper "fear of the

Lord" is actually LOVE. It is the antithesis of "being afraid of God."

All man-made religions are based in fear. Why? Because you

cannot truly love God unless you see Him in Truth. And the moment

you would see Him in Truth, you would no longer have a man-made

religion. You would have the Truth!

     Fear is, in fact, the opposite of Love. John says this. He says,

God is Love.....There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out

fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect

in love. (I John 4:8, 18)

     Now notice: God IS love, that is, the embodiment of love. And

perfect love casts OUT fear. Thus, GOD casts out fear. Therefore,

it is inescapable that fear is never of God.

     Get that: God casts out fear. He does not incite fear. So if I am

afraid of God, I am not seeing Him in Truth. I am seeing, and

responding to, a LIE about Him.

     This almost seems impossible to most of us. We have spent

our entire lives being controlled by a fear of God. We have obeyed

God because we are afraid of Him. Some of us even pray to God

because we are afraid of Him. We simply don't know what it means

to do right because we LOVE God.

     And yet that is supposed to be what governs us. Note what else

John says:

God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God

in him. (I John 4:16)

     According to John, it should be "business as usual" for those who

are in Christ to be governed by the love of God. It should be normal

for us to obey God and walk with Him because He is too wonderful

to resist.

     Now what all this boils down to is this: God is so wonderful that

the moment I catch a glimpse of Him in Spirit and in Truth, it will

motivate me to do what is right in His eyes. It will be voluntary. It will

be without keeping score. I'll do it because the love of God

motivates me. Nothing else.

Where is Love?

     The apostle John also says:

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent

his Son to be the propitiation for our sins....we love Him because

he first loved us.

     If you want to know how to love others, or how to love God, John

tells us here: Realize the love God has for you. Indeed, it is a fact

that no one can love themselves up to God. God has to come down

and love us. Then we have something to work with.

     John says that to discover the love God has for us, look at Jesus.

Realize what He sacrificed for us. Stop trying to make yourself

loveable, and open yourself up to the love of God. God IS love.

You don't have to try to convince someone who IS love to love you!

     Being controlled by the love of God is not possible if all we know

about love is doctrinal. Anyone can memorize the doctrine which

says God loves us. But we become voluntarily motivated by the

love of God only if the love of God actually dwells within us through

His Son Jesus Christ.

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