God's infinite love for sinful humanity caused Him to instigate the way of salvation (Jn 3:16). 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).
Love for the lost should compel us to share the gospel
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’. "For Christ's love compells us...that we should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them" (2 Cor 5:14,15).
Jesus told a parable of the Great Banquet where the servants were instructed to invite, in fact, urge people to avail themselves of the offer available (Lk 14:16-23). Although many had been invited they 'had other things on' and declined the opportunity. Having been specifically notified they made the choice and made excuses why they wouldn't attend. With the message of salvation we are to clearly present the gospel to people and explain the consequences if they die without knowing Jesus as Saviour – yet again many people, for a variety of reasons, will not accept the glorious offer that is presented to them. Our responsibility remains to keep putting the message of hope in front of them and live in such a way that they want what we have. Do I have the compelling, Spirit-driven motivation of Christ’s love, zealous to seeing the lost reconciled with God?
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). God spoke to Cain, "You must master the wrong desire" – he decided what the outcome would be (Gen 4:7). 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 with new rules to live by (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 Christians are challenged to take up their cross daily to follow Christ our master, with Jesus saying if a person does not do this they are not worthy of Him (Mt 10:38; Lk 9:23).