For the Love of Christ Compels Us

The Apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ compels us,” and that phrase is perfectly fitting for us here at Hope Smiles. Love drives us and fuels everything we do.

What does that really mean?

Love isn’t a feeling.
It’s not a general warm, gooey feeling inside (although sometimes that’s a happy side effect). If we think love is just a feeling, then it’s going to hinge on our circumstances. If things are going well, we will feel loving. If things are not going well, we will feel empty. Love is action. It moves regardless of circumstances, regardless of whether we are feeling good or bad on a particular day.

Love requires preparation.
Lives driven by love don’t happen by coincidence. Everything we do, every single day, needs to start with our hearts. If we are going to move closer to our vision, our hearts have to be set on it. To be successful every day, we have to prepare to be successful every day. This means we have to fill our hearts full of love every single day. This is non-negotiable. The obstacles are too daunting to overcome if our hearts are not prepared to encounter them. There is too much need. There are too little resources. People let us down. Equipment breaks. Patients have unrealistic expectations. Our teammates are too complicated. The list goes on and on.

The only way our team is going to have the collective strength and perseverance to reach our vision is to set our hearts on something greater than the obstacles. So the question remains, what kind of love are we filling out hearts full of each day?

Love is supernatural.
We believe God defined love for us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When we could not save ourselves, God saved us through Christ despite our sin. So if this is how the Creator of all things loves, naturally we are called to serve each other and our patients with humble hearts that do not seek our own comfort or status.

We can sacrifice because He sacrificed for us. We become vulnerable because He became vulnerable for us. We can persevere in the face of hardship because He’s already won the war. God has shown us His ways are better than our ways.  This is how we are designed to love.

Learning His love is rarely comfortable, but as we walk this path we see the transformation on so many levels: inwardly in our hearts, in our relationships within our team, in our relationships with our patients, and in our relationships with the communities we serve.

Today—just like yesterday and just like we’ll do again tomorrow—today we choose to let the love of Christ compel us forward in our work and our vision.

Gradi Ellis