God is merciful to us. It is His desire to show us mercy.
Application #1: Embrace the posture that God promises will meet with His approval!
Listen, you can fight God for your own way in prideful self-sufficiency, self-reliance and a determination to make your own SELF righteous. (Did you catch what I did there?) You can fight Him for strength and victory and hope to resist your weaknesses. You can keep pressing in hard to achieve righteousness in your own power. Or, in humility and meekness, you can embrace a posture of “Whatever Your will is, Lord, I give in.”
In the first way, God will oppose your pride at every turn. He despises pride. But He’ll give mercy to the meek. “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51) When we posture ourselves in a humble, contrite manner, which is God-dependent, God says He will always give merciful grace.
You see, when we humbly acknowledge we are weak and broken, with a contrite heart and a life surrendered to God’s will for us, no matter what that is, our heart is demonstrating its desperateness for God in all areas of our life (God-reliance and a God-desired outcome whatever His will asks of us). This is what pleases Him.
Application #2: Great need precedes great compassion.
You see, mercy is realized by recognizing our great need of that mercy, and it is received by leaning into our need. If we refuse to embrace the authenticity and desperation of the way things are right now (the life God has given us right now), we will never find mercy in it. It cheapens mercy when we don’t want it, because we don’t feel we need it.
The more desperate our authentic confession that we desperately need it, the wider the door is to finding mercy in the Lord. God often pulls us into a desperate, broken, unfulfilled life to force us to interact with Him because He wants to display His kindness, mercy and grace. Remember also, that if we hide our brokenness from our brothers and sisters in Christ or our spouses or even our children, we shut the door to them showing us compassion and mercy in it. Nobody will know!
We’ll give the illusion that we’re strong already and have no need of grace or mercy. Nobody will be given the opportunity to show us mercy. What do we perfectionists (what I call performancists) hate more than anything? Why, of course, it is our need! Neediness! Insufficiency! Weakness! Not being able to do it ourselves!
But what does God desire more than anything of our hearts? The recognition of our need for Him!!!
One of the first things depression will try to convince you of is that you don’t need anyone! With that sense of inward-seeking self-fulfillment, besides the others in your life, you will push away the only One Who can give you any peace. In depression, more than any other attributes of God, we need His mercy and grace. Why would we slam the door on the One Who loves to give it to us? Owning up to our great need of His mercy and recognizing our inability to ever achieve true perfection is what opens the floodgates of His mercy toward us.
Application #3: Remember that God wants to show us mercy.
He doesn’t want to withhold it. He died to be able to show us mercy on a daily basis, instead of administering justice for our sins. But He won’t bulldoze His way in! He is waiting for an invitation.
Application #4: There is always purpose when God demonstrates His mercy and grace.
Remember Paul’s words to Timothy, “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:16 (NASB)
Application #5: Listening to songs about God’s mercy confesses our need to Him.
Although songs like “Lord, Have Mercy,” sung by Michael W. Smith, sound like we are begging for mercy that we’re afraid God won’t give us, it isn’t that at all. The songs which cry out to God for mercy are more about our confession that we understand that we are indeed sinful, and recognize how much we need the overflowing mercy of the Merciful One. This is the posture that God has said He will cherish and will not despise. This is the posture of a heart on which He will show compassion.
That prayer or that song of God’s mercy is one which leans into our Savior in a posture of brokenness and contriteness, with a sorrow that recognizes how sinful our hearts truly are, understands the depth of the depravity of our lives and recognizes how much we need His mercy as the Balm of Gilead for our souls. As the brokenness weighs more and more heavily on us, revealing the gravity of our condition, God’s beauty for ashes—that of relational grace—begins to emerge and lifts us up which comforts our hemorrhaging souls.
Verses To Meditate On
Psalm 145:8-9 (NASB): “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.”
Psalm 51:16–17 (NASB): “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
Romans 9:15–16 (NASB): “For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So, then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”
Matthew 9:10–13 (NIV): “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Psalm 34:17–19 (NASB): “The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
1 Timothy 1:16 (NASB): “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”
Also see: Luke 1:50, 2 Corinthians 1:3, Ephesians 2:4–7, Titus 3:5–7.
There is something incredibly powerful in the song, “Mercy Came Running” sung by Phillips, Craig and Dean. My favorite part of the song is when “Mercy” is personified as standing behind the veil in the Holy of Holies, with longing eyes and His face pressed up tightly against the veil, just waiting for God to accomplish everything that needed to be done to satisfy His wrath, tearing the veil in two and setting “Mercy” free to pour Himself out upon the people of God who were once held captive by their sin. The chorus declares that when we couldn’t reach Mercy, Mercy ran to us to give us what we have always needed.
Finally, Christine Wyrtzen wrote a beautiful blog entry years ago. It ended like this:
“‘Let mercy come to me’ is a beautiful prayer. However, the beauty will never be experienced if I pretend I have no need of it. By brushing it aside, it is cheapened to a mere trinket. People cry out for want of love, of goodness, of beauty and of mercy and yet refuse to prepare their hearts to see all of this in God. Mercy is there, resident in Christ!”Christine Wyrtzen, “Mercy and Beauty,” ChristineWyrtzen.com, July 21, 2016.
When you are in the throes of defeat and you see hopelessness all around, turn to your loving heavenly Father in humility and admit your need. Remember, “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8 (NASB) Run towards Him and jump into His merciful arms. This is a promise that you can take to the bank: He will be merciful to you, too!
“It is God’s desire to be merciful to you! When you are in the throes of defeat and you see hopelessness all around, turn to your loving heavenly Father in humility and admit your need. Run towards Him and jump into His merciful arms.”Tweet