On Presidents’ Day, we celebrate President Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, in the middle of the Civil War. Lincoln declared that all persons held as slaves within any state “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” This speech changed the course of life for more than 3.5 million people.
The message of the gospel is a declaration of freedom, also, and we, the church, have been made stewards of this message. What compels us to share it? What motivates us to be carriers of the Good News?
Paul chose the word “compel” in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: “For the love of Christ compels us” (NKJV). “Compel” means to force or drive to a course of action—meaning that force has a powerful and irresistible effect or influence.
Paul’s mission was compelled by Christ’s love. Verse 14 uses the words Christ’s love “controls” us in some translations (e.g., NLT, ESV) and “compels” in others (NKJV). These are both strong words that say it is love that motivates us to proclaim freedom and hope for a different future.
“For God so loved the world” (John 3:16).
Prayer + Reflection
1. Pray for a deep reception of the love of God in your own heart, that you would be compelled by Jesus to proclaim His message.
2. Thank God for the freedom we find in His great love. Ask Him to help you communicate the magnitude of that love to all you meet.
3. Think of some ways you have hope for the future at hand. Ask God to fulfill that hope and to help you share it with others.
4. Pray for the church around the world to be a conduit of love and hope in an age of hate and despair.
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