<<obliged, forced>>

Jesus, knowing the anguish and pain that awaited Him, prayed “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26:39). Even though He saw the great personal cost He looked beyond that to what would result from His obedience, and so compelled by His love for humanity (and the knowledge that He was the only possibility whereby we could be saved), submitted Himself to die in our place (Phil 2:8).

Paul said, “I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor 9:16). “I delight to do your will” may have been his motto as he took his divine assignment seriously, being willing to experience much physical hardship (Ps 40:8; Act 9:15; 2 Cor 11:25-27). Later he said, “I am drawn irresistibly by the Holy Spirit…to

Love for the lost should compel us                               to share the gospel

complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me” (Act 20:22,24; Phil 3:12-14). Do I sense the Lord’s urge to fulfill my calling? The inner drive to accomplish should be greater than the apprehension or fear that wants me to ‘just play safe’.

People who use the excuse, ‘the devil made me do it’ may have continually given in to the demands of the flesh, and even be demon possessed, so there is little resistance left. However, neither God nor Satan can completely over-ride the human ability to choose. The final choice is ours – to go either God’s way (being a slave to righteousness) or Satan’s (continuing to be a slave to sin). The sinful nature within is a powerful master not easily relinquishing control, yet, Jesus Christ, who is more powerful, will deliver us if we choose His way; after all this is really at the heart of accepting Christ and being baptised – we have a new master (Rom 6:4,6,11-18, 7:14-25).

Peer pressure, especially in the teenage years, is a powerful psychological force to conform to the ‘in crowd’. Young people need encouragement to stand up for themselves in the face of compromising situations. OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is a serious mental problem that requires professional treatment.

In Bible times, the occupying Roman soldiers could command a civilian to carry their gear for a mile, yet Jesus said, “Don’t just meet your obligation, go double the distance” to prove your commitment  (Mt 5:41). When Jesus was being lead out to be crucified a bystander was coerced into carrying His cross for Him (Mk 15:21). All true Christians are challenged to take up their cross daily to follow our master (Lk 9:23).

See also: force, obligation, peer pressure, pressure, responsible/responsibility.

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