Galatians 5:16-17

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

because of HIS GREAT LOVE for us

Father, we're depravity prone, selfish, and a hindrance to You being displayed in our lives. Would you please give us Your heart of mercy.  

I'm in a small group at my church and we're going through this book called 'The Kingdom Experiment.'  It's on the beatitudes and it's main purpose is practically living the beatitudes instead of just getting together and talking about what they mean (each week there are kingdom 'experiments' trying to get to the heart of each beatitude). This week we are on mercy. 'Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.' 

We were discussing in what situations it is really challenging for us to be merciful and serve when we don't feel like submitting, and in times when mercy is questionably deserved. It was really interesting to see how each persons struggles in showing mercy were so different. From, "I can't stand that person, and I don't want to give surface-mercy," "When I'm drained and moody, I just don't want to, I just dont have the energy to push myself into being merciful," to "I resort to thinking, oh that's not my gift, another part of the body will take care of that." 
Really, really different. But the same is that we all recognized that we get to a point where we are just not down for being merciful. Uniquely, we all have situations that totally DO NOT cater to us acting in mercy. And so the question went to, when we get 'stuck' in these positions of not joyfully showing mercy, how do we do it - when there is a clear call for us to push ourselves aside, forget about how tired or broke WE are, and be Christ (outside of circumstances enabling laziness), how do we live mercifully?

One of the girls in our group started sharing about what the Lord has been teaching her and it was such an amazing revelation. 

At the core of it was looking at Jesus' heart in coming to earth. Earth and the cross were not in any way enticing. They were hideous - but necessary for our atonement. 
How much must He have rather stayed in heaven. "Father, if there is any way, take this cup from me, but not my will but yours be done."
When He, sitting in Glory, looked down on our situation, foresaw His life, and decided still to dive into our mess. There is no greater example of mercy. Never has there been or will there be a more extreme example of choosing to be merciful when everything logical pointed to staying in Heaven. We didn't deserve it, and in order to make it happen, it was ALL Him and it was brutal sacrifice. 
In meditating on Christ's mercy towards us, never do we have even the slightest situation that allows for complaining. 
For my heart take even the slightest turn towards not gladly letting Christ's mercy for me overflow to the needy and undeserving is undermining the mercy and love of Christ sacrificing Himself for us. 

When we recognize this, SO heightened is the NEED for us to STAY constantly in the Spirit, allowing His strength to pour through us to shine a light so bright that Satan trembles. 
Please teach us this, God. We won't figure it out on our own. 


  1. billy this post was rad. it's definitely a challenge to be merciful, especially when our human weakness almost ALWAYS seem to be hindering us. Like if I'm extremely tired, slightly sick, really hungry, or things just have been going bad; things as minor as these really impact my ability to show mercy when i'm wronged. but you nailed it on the head at the end when you said we NEED to STAY CONSTANTLY in the Spirit. soooooo true. im such a wretched person when i'm not living in the Spirit, when my flesh consumes my thoughts and attitudes more than the Spirit. loved the last line. "we wont figure it out on our own" good stuff

  2. A beautiful glimpse of our depravity, something we cannot fully understand in our humanness, or could possibly bear to understan even a portion. The only response to Christ's mercy is to walk in it and to freely give of it. Hebrews up...I hope it gives you chills.

  3. "never do we have even the slightest situation that allows for complaining."

    This is always good for me to think on, I've always been convicted by/can relate to the older brother of the prodigal son parable. He complained when he had no reason to, and in that complaint was not merciful. So thanx for bringing it to heart and mind.

  4. This is such a tough one for me! There, I said it out loud ;-) Seriously, I am often consumed with my own sense of "justice" that I don't even stop to give mercy a shot at existing. The key words in that last sentence were "my own sense of justice"... trust me when I say, I am not just. Mercy is something I need to work on like crazy. This is a good example of a tangible way to go about it. I like the idea of living out the beatitudes... and not just talking about them. Thanks for sharing this ;-)

  5. I really appreciate both of your posts this week. It all comes down to choosing to do those things that do not come naturally but only through the Holy Spirit. Choosing to love, to be merciful, to be gracious, to be kind through the guidance, strength, and joy of the Holy Spirit. What a God that supplies ALL our needs and GUIDES us in this. Thanks for sharing and "spurring" us on.

  6. You're so right that this is something the Spirit needs to teach us. Like Karen said, these things will not come naturally. We tend to rely upon our moods and tendencies and the like, but we're called to rely solely on the Spirit of God. Great thoughts!

  7. "when there is a clear call to push ourselves aside"... thank you for that, firstly. and I really like your thoughts on this. when you relate it back to Jesus, I have a lot more clarity with Truth, and the point you are making.

  8. He is the vine, we are the branches. apart from Him we can do nothing. without being "plugged in" we have no source for lasting mercy or life or joy or anything. thanks for the reminder, billy!

  9. Awesome. It's so clear to us when we see the truth of what God has done for us.

  10. I think what really hit hard for me in this (beautiful!) post of yours...was at the end, when you talk about meditating on Christ's mercy for us. How often to we just "sit" at the cross...sit in that moment with Christ...and let his ENORMOUS grace and mercy sink in? I can say that I don't do that nearly often enough! And as you's out of an OVERFLOW of that understanding that we can even begin to become merciful to others. A lot to think on. Thank you for sharing!

  11. i really appreciate your prayers at the beginning and end of this. so interesting how varied the body of Christ is, and thank God for that. such a beautiful mosaic. great point about the cross too. i think in our Christian faith, in attempting to honor the cross, we glamorize it instead; in this, we forget the extent of the pain and humiliation that Christ was brought to. thanks for reminding us of this.

  12. I have a hard time accepting mercy. I want to earn it. I want it to be deserved. I don't know what to do with gifts. They make me feel awkward.

    And then by extension, I expect others to earn my mercy as well.

    This post (and the comments above) are a great reminder that we extend mercy to others only in so far as we come to appreciate and understand the Mercy of Jesus for us.