Love and Mission, Love and Mission, go together like a horse and carriage.
Okay, this is a bad adaptation of the song "Love and Marriage" (But not as bad as the suggestion I read the other day for adapting Olivia Newton John's song, Let's Get Physical, and making it, Let's Get Missional, Missional."

But love and mission do go together. Note this passage from Paul in 2 Corinthains 5:4f.

4For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.

If we have not been convicted by Christ's love for us, we will remain selfish. In order to reach out to others, we must first die to ourselves. And this is tough. It is tough to be selfless in our marriage. We are usually concerned with our needs being met. And we do have certain needs. But the point is, it is hard to be selfless.

And as if it were not enough of a challenge to love others, we apparently struggle to even love one another very well. A study by Lifeway indicates that 58 percent of people who had attended church for at least a year in high school and then dropped out of worship attendance said that they did so because of relationship problems"
  • 26% said that they didn't feel connected to people in the church.
  • 15% said churches were either unfriendly, unwelcoming, or cliquish.
(Study found in Compelled by Love: The Most Excellent Way to Missional Living by Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation, p. 83.)

Without a conviction of Christ's love for us, we will always struggle to be selfless. And if our own people do not feel love, how well will we love others whom we encounter?

So, what can we do to increase our love for one another and for others, and be compelled by Christ's love so that we can be better ambassadors of Christ?

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Okay, really? No one on this site commented on this post? Come on guys! If you can't get excited about Christ's love and mission . . .
I think we really need to embrace our identity as new creations in Christ. Last Sunday, I liked what you said about the "heart" of a Christian, because if we truly are new creations, then we have been given a new nature in the Holy Spirit. That nature is to love God and love others.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (New International Version, ©2010),
"17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!"
1 John 3:14 (New International Version, ©2010),
"14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death."
If we are truly living in the nature of the Spirit, conforming to the likeness of Christ, then loving God and loving each other should require less and less mental intervention as we grown in Christ. Right?

I ramble all this off because I am sick of when love and compassion become superficial and religious. When we love because Christ tells us to, instead of loving because it's part of who we are and what we do. When we love for the purpose of somehow achieving assurance, instead of loving as a result of the assurance given by the Holy Spirit. All of this is deceitful and selfish.
This superficial love is something that is easily spotted by nonbelievers and it's a huge turnoff. If it goes unnoticed in the church for a while, longtime brothers and sisters in Christ will eventually slide away from the faith because of this absence of Christ's love. However on the positive side, if nonbelievers saw Christ's love radiating from a community of believers as it did in the early church, then we would be fulfilling our duty as ambassadors and the family of believers would be unbreakable.
We must embrace being a new creation and being conformed to the likeness of Christ.
Sean, what great thoughts you have! I love the verse you have quoted and the way that you link this to love. Love, as you indicate, should spring from a wellspring of goodwill and desire for the good of others because of what Christ has done for us.

Many, I think, do "love" or do religious things to try to stay right with God or so that they won't lose their salvation. This kind of negative motivation has limited motivational power and, as you indicate, is easily seen through by others.

Thank you for sharing, Sean. I'm so glad that you are on this site, and I hope that you will contribute and write often!
Great, best way to love others is sharing the gospel to them which gives eternal life.

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