Mercy. The reality, when believed, has the potential to transform your perspective, the way you live your life — but when it is misunderstood or complacently not embraced, can become a trap of doubt and uncertainty… tired living.
I read an article recently written by John Piper on January 1, 2002. It’s a word for the beginning of the year, and I think it’s a truth that my human soul what do well to meditate on at each year’s start.
Piper makes the remark that “all we will get from God this year as believers in Jesus is mercy.” Whatever pains or pleasures, highs or lows, that come our way will all be mercy. This perspective, for us humans, is sometimes a hard one to hold fast too. BUT I can say that the times I have allowed the Holy Spirit to give me eyes to truly see, I can say my soul does indeed radiate gratitude.
Now, let me vent about my lack of real faith sometimes (or what I, in my humanness, think to be a lack of real faith). . I’ve conditioned myself to feel like my faith has to be grand, perfect, relentless natural. In Luke 17:5, the apostles pleaded with the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said (v. 6), “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
I unashamedly confess I pray this prayer often. Piper remarks, “In other words, the issue in your Christian life and ministry is not the strength or quantity of your faith, because that is not what uproots trees. God does.” God is all-powerful, the Creator of the universe; moving trees and mountains is a small thing for Him.
“The issue is not perfection for Christ, but connection to Christ.”
Piper then makes a charge: Take heart, the smallest seed of faith connects with all of Christ’s mercy. So really, maybe it’s more about the sincerity of the heart, of the faith, with a desire to truly connect with God.
On the flip side you have obedience, but what I have meditated on recently is that both the fullest obedience and the smallest faith obtain the same thing from God: mercy. Hallelujah.
“The point is: whatever the timing or form of God’s mercy, we never rise above the status of beneficiaries of mercy. We are always utterly dependent on the undeserved.”
So this year I resolve to do my best, with the strength and grace of God’s Spirit inside me, to focus more on the authenticity of my faith than the measure of it.