What a gift we have in the Christmas season. God himself took on flesh and dwelt among us that we might find eternal relationship in him. His coming serves as a continual reminder of his grace and pursuit of us who are lost without him. As we look to Jesus this week to celebrate who he is and what he’s done, may you find life-giving hope and foundational joy.
“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13
The ministry of Jesus is laden with acts of mercy. From acts of healing and forgiveness to meals shared with those entirely undeserving of his attention, his heart was filled with mercy for his people.
Have you ever thought that God might delight in showing you mercy? Have you ever thought that he might actually enjoy stepping into your world and offering that which you are wholly unworthy of? Does a good father loathe the times he needs to step in and forgive a child? Does a good father always force his kids to toe the line of perfection and offer only harsh words when they inevitably fail?
The very coming of Christ was an act of mercy. We who were left to try and find relationship under the law discovered our inability to live up to God’s standards. When left to live by our own strength, we quickly reveal ourselves to be made of dust. But Jesus’ coming demonstrated a part of God’s heart we still find hard to believe today. God’s desire is to step into the lives of his children and offer compassion and forgiveness where there is only failure and guilt. His desire is to pick us up even after we’ve made a mess and comfort us, while at the same time empowering us to live differently. We serve a merciful King.
Psalm 103:2-4 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” Jesus bore a crown of thorns that we might be crowned with his steadfast love and mercy. Jesus, the only one deserving of God’s love, took on the guilt and shame we deserved that our lives might be marked by compassion and grace.
In this life you will make mistakes. There will not be a single day in which you experience perfection. But Jesus’ birth, life, and death reveal to us that life is not about our imperfections but about God’s perfect love. Life is not about our failures or successes but about the God who loves us through it all.
Take time today to allow God to crown you with his steadfast love and mercy that your heart might find peace in the arms of your merciful King.
1. Meditate on the mercy of God. Allow Scripture to fill you with faith to receive what you do not deserve.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” Psalm 103:2-4
2. Where do you need a revelation of God’s mercy today? Where are you feeling frustration or guilt around your weaknesses?
3. Ask God for a revelation of his mercy. Ask him how he sees your weaknesses. Allow his mercy to lay a new foundation for your life that you might live by grace today.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
In Matthew 9:13 Jesus says, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” We are called to live as agents of God’s mercy. One of the most powerful ways we can reflect the character of Jesus is by offering mercy to those in desperate need of it. Don’t hold others to standards of perfection. Rather, show forgiveness and love to those who, like you, are in desperate need of grace. May you find joy in being used by God to bring light and love to others today.
Extended Reading: Psalm 103
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