The promises which will comfort us most in fulfillment can sometimes feel agonizing in their process. The listening is easy, the living is hard. We all want to be humble, but few of us want to be humbled.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died, and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
Poetic, right? These verses sound almost melodic. But being compelled, controlled, urged by the love of Christ involves discomfort. It involves being utterly bent in ways that feel like breaking. It involves exposure and exercises which feel wildly unnatural to the flesh like confession, costly forgiveness, and humility.
As we get ready to plant a church, I feel my flesh resisting such reshaping. I like order and sameness. I like doing things that feel natural and easy. I do not like new or awkward or starting over. I like reassuring and comforting faith; I do not like risking and convicting faith. But you cannot have one without the other.
I am comforted to know that this arc, this motion, to which we are being pressed by faith in God is nothing new. It may feel unnatural, but it is eternal and right. It is the path every believer in Christ must tread in order to become one who resembles Him.
The Parabola of Paschal Love
Existing. Extinguished. Exalted.
The parabola of paschal love.
The ground of all being bent low
To lift His wayward ones above.
Image-bearers are to imitate
The Son’s glorious descent.
His love reshapes our souls
To His benevolent bent.
From Incurvatus in se
To strangely cruciform-
Such divine discomfort
Is the believer’s norm.
If you feel constrained and strained by Christ’s love, you are in the best company.