2 Corinthians 5:9–21comment (0)
April 15, 2010
By Mark DeVine
Related Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:9–21
Bible Studies for Life
Associate professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
The Right Motivation
2 Corinthians 5:9–21
How does God have His way with us? How does it ever happen that we serve, as we should, at His beck and call? I think I know how. Let me tell you a story that may make it plain.
The Tyranny of Green Eyes
I saw them for the first time in a middle school hallway in 1973. It was a set of green eyes, shining like emeralds set in the precious head of a certain girl whose name I shall not reveal. I fell head over heels in love for the first time, and my world was turned upside down and inside out. Do you know what I am talking about? Have you ever been there?
Before I laid eyes on those eyes, no one could count on Mark DeVine for much of anything. But afterward I found myself taking on the discipline, focus and commitment of a Marine under orders to take a piece of enemy ground. I discovered the cosmetic sections of department stores and products like Clearasil and Vitalis. I suddenly required the frequent use of mirrors. I mapped out my days according to my research related to the movements of that girl with those eyes. I positioned myself between mirrors and doorways I expected her body to break the plane of.
Have you been there? This is exactly how God gets His way with us. He causes us to fall in love with Him, and we become His little Marines. We become tools in His hands much as I became putty in the hands of that girl with those eyes. “We make it our aim … to be well-pleasing to Him.” “Christ’s love compels us.” We long to see Him pleased with us because His love for us has evoked our love for Him. We study to please Him.
The Tyranny of Love
This is how things are for those who have partaken of His mercy and have understood and believed His promises. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.”
When we fall in love, the whole world looks different. The whole world is different. Do you know of what I speak? If not, then why not? If not, then God will never have His way with you, at least not in the way He deserves to have His way with you. “He died for all, so they who live might no longer live for themselves.”
But, of course, we who are in love lose the desire to live for ourselves, do we not? The prospect of going back to living for ourselves the way we once did appalls and repels us, does it not? What a colossal waste of time when we can spend our days pursuing and seeking to please the one we love. Paradoxically our new way of living for ourselves is to live for Him.
When we fall in love, it seems to us that our previous existence was hardly worth calling life at all, isn’t that so? Only now do we feel alive. Only now do we understand something of what life is all about, right? That is just what Paul is talking about, and no one who has yet to fall in love with God in Jesus Christ can possibly make sense out of what he says. But whoever has fallen in love with Him understands perfectly.
That Old Love Letter
The girl with the green eyes did become my girlfriend for a little while. It was that puppy love that is all too real for the puppy but actually lacks deep roots and fades quickly. She wrote me a love letter that I would revisit from time to time and experience a twinge of the old feelings.
Have you ever been in love with your Lord? Has it faded? Get out that old love letter He wrote to you and me, the Bible. Unlike the one received from that girl with the green eyes, this one is still true and shall remain true. Read of His love for you, of what His love prompted Him to do for you, of what He has promised to do for you.
Woody Allen was right about one thing: “The heart is a resilient little muscle.” You might just find yourself falling in love all over again. And if you do, then the One you love will have His way with you once more.