Before we’re drawn to Christ every individual on the planet thinks of himself like a king ruling a mini-kingdom, always waging war on all the other mini-kingdoms trying to increase his wealth, strengthen his defenses, and expand his boundaries. Here love’s highest function is that of a temporary peace treaty. Often it’s something worse: an attempt at manipulation or coercion. Of course, this is not real love.
Salvation is what happens when Christ shows up at the door of your castle and says, “Bow the knee, ride with me to victory, or perish.” And we do, because his kingdom is irresistibly beautiful, and in comparison we realize ours was and always has been a sham. We fall in line behind Christ next to a whole slew of once-kings-now-servants. The difference is that now there’s no longer bickering over any petty kingdoms. Now, it’s shoulder to shoulder instead of fist to fist. And now, for the first time, we’re finally able to love.
In other words, Jesus’ followers have forsaken their own self-centered dreams in order to participate in the advancement of Christ’s kingdom. If we would truly love each other we must stop thinking of ourselves as kings with rights, but rather as slaves with undeserved privileges. Only then does our service to the true King becomes a united effort. It becomes a common goal for every Christ-follower. And the nearer we are drawn into that goal and aim, the nearer we are drawn to each other in love.