“Jesus teaches you to live your life as He would live your life.” This is a quote from the book, “Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth”, by Hugh Halter. When I read that, I was struck by how at once the statement is so simple, yet the implications are enormous. How would Jesus live my life if He were me? What if, instead of using the miracle of the virgin birth 2,000 years ago, the way God chose to reveal Himself to the world was through my life? How would I live? What would I do? In what ways would my life be different? What if He chose to use your life?
There is nothing we can ever do to deserve Heaven or the love of Jesus. We are too flawed, too broken, and too selfish to ever be able to overcome all of that and present ourselves worthy to God. It is only by His incredible and inexplicable love that we can obtain the privilege of coming into His presence. I have often heard sermons preached about the rewards we will receive in Heaven based on our service on earth. I think it’s important to recognize that except for the mercy of Christ, we could achieve nothing for Him. As notable Puritan Thomas Hooker prepared to die, those gathered at his bedside said, “Brother Hooker, you are going to receive your reward.” His reply was, “No, no! I go to receive mercy!”
“Hear my cries Lord, hear my plea / All around me, all I see / Are canyons of heartache, rivers of mistakes / … It’s clouding up my clarity.” Those lines are from the song, “Mercy”, written by Aaron Pelsue. How often have you felt this way? Every day brings a new disappointment, and it seems as if bad news has taken up permanent residence in our inbox. The daily news grows ever more depressing, and the demands on our time our choking out any semblance of a spiritual life. We are dismayed by our past, discouraged by the future and despondent over our current circumstances. Where does it end, and how do we get off of this ride?
Recently several churches in my area have been dropping their sponsorship of Boy Scout troops. My own church home has made headlines because of their decision to follow suit. At issue is the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow homosexual boys to join their ranks, something that has previously been forbidden. The churches that are pulling their support from the scouts are doing so ostensibly so they are not financially supporting or associated with a group that allows homosexuals to benefit from their funding. Upon learning of my home church’s decision, I took an afternoon to think and pray about this stance. I’d like to share my thoughts with you.
God is so merciful and His grace is unending. We all know the things we should do, but in practice few of us consistently succeed. We go through seasons of growth, but then there are those times when it seems all we can do is mess up. We could spend the majority of our days living in guilt, discouraged that we have missed the mark again. God rejects that idea. He sent His Son to free us from guilt and to remove all of our sins. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus gives us never ending opportunities to start again.