“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this: that One died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).”It is no part of Christ’s mission to compel men to receive Him. It is Satan, as well as men actuated by his spirit, who seeks to compel the conscience. Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are confederate with evil angels bring suffering upon their fellow men, in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win through the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love.” (The Desire of Ages, p. 487, emphasis added).
He desires only voluntary service.
Stop and meditate on that for a minute and let it really sink in. I know that in the beginning of many or our journeys, God sought simply to save us from self-destructive behaviors by any means necessary. But after that—I am fully convinced—God would have us grow into something quite entirely different in nature.
Follow Hosea’s prophecy closely:
“At that time,” declares the Lord, “you will call me, ‘My husband’; you will never again call me, ‘My master’” (Hosea 2:16).
There is a stark contrast between the relationship between a slave and his master and the relationship that exists between spouses. (Or at least there should be.) But it truly gives us something here to reflect on:
We place so much emphasis on obedience that sometimes we forget that, if obedience were all God wanted, all would be easy! Flood the world, send fire down from Heaven, threaten with plagues—or, even better, with eternal destruction! The obedience of many—not all, but many—would be guaranteed! But we have misunderstood all of these signs. God wants more than our obedience. He desires our love.
As much as I respect other religions, no other God in any other religion wants our love. They want our obedience and our service, but no other God wants love. And thus, how we go about sharing Him with this world must be dramatically different. As a church, we are part of something much different than we have realized. We have been chosen as ambassadors of reconciliation to win the hearts of humanity back for God through the revelation of our unique understanding of His love for this world.
Non-compulsory, voluntary service and love: To choose Him in an environment where we are truly free to choose anything else. Then—and only then—will there be assurance that rebellion will never break out in the universe again.
“Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the Lord’s contribution” (Exodus 35:5, emphasis added).
I wish you God’s best this week.