Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Looking For the Mercy"

"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 1:21).

Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ need do nothing to maintain the face and intensity of God's love for us. This is His eternally fixed prerogative, based upon His own character of grace, mercy, and devotion to others. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).

We do much, however, to keep ourselves in the love of God. As James explained, we "look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ." We set our gaze and keep our gaze upon the Savior who freely provides an all encompassing grace that we must freely receive. "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" confirmed the writer of Hebrews, and thus we must determine how to maintain our focus on the Divine love that alone fosters and enables human devotion. "We love Him because He first loved us" (Hebrews 12:2; I John 4:19).

First, we heed our Lord's command to "continue in My Word" (John 8:31). We do so not with an onerous sense of burden, but with an amazed wonder that God so desires to communicate Himself and His truth to us. If we are thinking rightly, the responsibility of reading and assimilating Scripture should be viewed as if our Lord commanded us to daily eat a bowl of chocolate ice cream. I also liken it to the stunning humility displayed in our Lord's washing of His disciples' feet in light of the Apostle Paul's description of Scripture as "the washing of water by the Word" (John 13:1-17; Ephesians 5:26).

We also seek the mercy of God in the privilege of prayer. As we often reference, our Heavenly Father takes great pleasure in our communication with Him because of His great love for us - "the prayer of the upright is His delight" - and the proper, Biblical understanding of prayer calls us to approach the throne of grace in the confidence that an affectionate, devoted Heart awaits us there (Proverbs 15:8). A life of consistent communion with God unveils such love to us, even as it births such love in us for God and for others.

We furthermore avail ourselves to the example, illumination, encouragement and challenge we find in fellow believers. Keeping ourselves near to love of Christ as it dwells in our brothers and sisters provides a primary means by which we keep ourselves in the love of God. We should expect to see such goodness in each other, notwithstanding the imperfections that still remain in us. As we maintain such an attitude of hope and grace, we do in fact discover the face of God shining in the face of His trusting sons and daughters in Christ. The remembrance and reality of Divine love can never be far from us so long as we keep ourselves near to our brothers and sisters.

Finally, if we must "keep" ourselves in the love of God, we recognize that influences must be aligned against us to move us away from the holy environment of His realized devotion. The world, the devil, and the flesh (including our own) constantly seek to distract our focus from the good will that graces our Father's heart. Our enemies would cloud and enshroud this bright sunlight. We must arise within our hearts to remember and affirm the "great love" that never fails to shine upon those who consistently "look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."

"I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
(John 17:26)

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