It’s all mercy

I don’t receive what I do deserve, and I do receive what I don’t deserve.

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When I was worshipping in a prayer meeting this week I found myself weeping at the sheer mercy of God towards me. Mercy is another of those words we use so lightly but hold so much meaning for us. I’ve been thinking about it so much since  that worship time.

The only time God has ever held anything back from me was when I was lost and did not know Him. He held back His wrath even though I deserved it. When my feet were in the miry clay, when I was in a pit of my own making, when I was as far from God as I could be – dead in my trespasses and sin, God loved me! How amazing! He held back all the punishment that I deserved, the wages of sin meant death but He held it back. He held back because of His mercy.

mercy-1However there was a day when He did not hold back, but gave everything, even His own dearly-loved son, to die for me. His mercy paid for me. Because He did not hold back I got to walk free. Free from sin, free from death and the fear of death, free from all that had ensnared and enslaved me; and more than that He lavished His love on me. I who had been opposed to God was now adopted into His family and can call Him Abba Father. I just did not deserve it.

Now, there is no good thing that He withholds. He is lavish with me, not stingy or mean but generous and liberal. It’s all  mercy – “compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands it”. You see there was nothing good about me that deserved God’s love. I was sinful; but this is the nature of the gospel that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, the just for the unjust. I still don’t deserve it.

This is the wonder of mercy that I don’t receive what I do deserve, and I do receive what I don’t deserve. Not just once in the past but every day. Every day when I blow it, get things wrong,  give in to temptation, get jealous, greedy, unkind, shout at my husband and/or children etc there is still mercy for me.

Because mercy is given to those who don’t deserve it I don’t have to work at being deserving- it’s unattainable anyway. Far better to spend our time worshipping the One who is merciful and let the wonder of His mercy move us to tears.

annie-spratt-156497Matt Redman has written a wonderful song about God’s mercy here. In it he describes God’s mercy as endless as the sea. Mercy is like those ocean waves – it just keeps coming towards us. We will never get anything other than mercy from God. Hallelujah!

 

Photo credits:
Photos Unsplash
Mercy word cloud created using Tagul

 

 

The most important thing about me?

Our view of God shapes our lives. The more amazing He is to me the more it impacts my life and the way I live it.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us”.

A W Tozer

When I read that this week it was like a lightning bolt had struck. I couldn’t move away from it. I felt all sorts of arguments rise up. That’s not true – the most important thing about me is that I’m saved, what if I’m just in a bad mood etc. The thing is that I couldn’t let that thought go. What did it mean? What Tozer meant of course is that our view of God shapes our lives.

It is no coincidence that this quote is in his book “The Knowledge of the Holy” which has twenty-three chapters describing the attributes of God. So far I have read about The Holy Trinity, The Self-Existence of God, The Self-Sufficiency of God, The Eternity of God, God’s Infinitude and God’s Immutability. Long words trying to capture the intrinsic nature of God and make the inaccessible accessible to us.

Working my way through these rich explanations I have noticed that I find myself increasingly aware not only of the Otherness of God but also of my own security because I am found in Him, this amazing Almighty God. The more amazing He is to me the more it impacts my life and the way I live it.

File_000 (23).pngAs I look at what God is like in terms of absolutes, (He is absolutely good etc) I realise the poverty of my own thinking. Why do I  make God smaller than He is? – simply because I don’t have the language to describe Him and so I fall back on descriptions out of my own experience. We all do that.

We can so easily put God in a box where He seems manageable to us. That god is really too small, we can even think that we can control him. A pocket-sized god that we keep for when we want or need him.

People, including the psalmists, describe God in terms of what He is not e.g. He is not like us, He is not unjust, He is not fickle, He doesn’t grow weary, He doesn’t faint. It’s because we don’t have anything adequate to compare Him with. Even words like amazing and awesome have been devalued by  their everyday use.

The Bible teaches that God is Other, that means He is not the same as us. We find it hard to grasp what God is really like but we see and experience glimpses of him. Sometimes we experience the grace of God in a very profound way and from that point on we have more understanding of His grace and may focus on it more than other aspects of God’s nature because we have some familiarity with it.

But what about those other attributes? For example what about Infinity? Infinity literally means limitlessness. This means that you can’t go “To Infinity and Beyond” because there is nothing beyond Infinity  and it has no end. Stay with me here. It’s difficult for us to understand limitlessness because we are limited, we are finite beings. God is different He is boundless, measureless in every respect. He is not bound by timebaby-2028307_1280, everything that comes from him is also infinite, so his grace, mercy etc is boundless too. There is no end to His goodness. Hallelujah!

Even if we feel like Winnie the Pooh who said “I am a bear with little brain and long words bother me” it is so worthwhile to take some time to ponder, to think about the greatness of God. It expands our understanding as we contemplate the mystery and wonder of who God is. It feeds our souls and helps us to have a right perspective of the King of the Universe. It leads me to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and to gaze in wonder.

Having a right view of who God is and what He is like is also fundamental to our well-being:

If I think He is mean, I will live like a pauper trying to find scraps and crumbs.

If I think He is generous I will live like a prince enjoying His blessing on my life.

If I think He is a taskmaster I will live like a slave

If I think He is my Father I will live like a son or daughter.

If I think He is powerless (or disinterested), I will not pray, I will have no hope

If I think His all-powerful (omnipotent) and caring, I will pray with faith and see miracles in my life (and so on)

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So why not dust off the dictionary, look up the attributes of God, and engage in a journey which will never end, a journey filled with wonder, a journey of discovery of how great God truly is.

Christine

Related Blogs:

Absolutely Superlative

What’s in the box

Photo Credits

“What comes into our minds” and “Omnipotent”created using wordswag

Winnie the Pooh, pixabay

Dictionary is my own photo, please do not use without permission