Back in the early 1700s, a rich and powerful man named Nikolas saw a painting that changed his life. As a 19-year-old, he visited a museum in Dusseldorf and saw a moving painting of Jesus’ suffering. There, crowned with thorns and being led off to the cross, Jesus looked out from the painting with magnetic eyes, a gaze that stopped viewers in their steps. On the bottom of the piece, the artist added two lines: “All this I did for thee. What doest thou for me?” Those words gripped Nikolas’ soul, comforting him with the selfless sacrifice of Jesus and compelling him to live a life of sacrificial love. From that day forward, he used his considerable influence and wealth not for himself but for the good of God’s kingdom.
The apostle Paul would have summarized that painting with these words: “Christ’s love compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). It is love, not the law, and grace, not guilt, that compel Christians to do good works. Yes, you need a clear path of commands as you walk with God. But, even more, you need the fuel to take another step toward obedience. That fuel is love. And your Savior Jesus has more than enough of it for you.
So if you struggle to be kind, to be gentle, to be selfless, or to be pure, spend some time staring at your Savior. Let his love warm your heart and compel your soul to walk with God.