As we begin week 3 of our devotions about the Way of Jesus, I would like for you to consider what has transpired over the last few weeks. (Now, if you’re new to us and haven’t been going through our devotions, don’t worry, but maybe skip this paragraph and jump right into the next section). Over the last few weeks, what successes/growth do you see? It is good for us to celebrate our wins—even if they are tiny! Also, it is important for us to pay attention to what has emerged as chronic challenges. Usually, chronic challenges are places in our lives where Jesus wants to show his grace and his power—>his grace to forgive you and his power to transform you.
Take note of your challenges. Don’t shrink from them. Ask the Lord to help and heal.
Alright—now—still your mind and invite the Holy Spirit to help you today. Take a deep breath in and say out loud, “You are here with me.”
We mentioned on Sunday that Dallas Willard has compared the way of the world with flying upside-down—but not knowing it. Unfortunately, spatial disorientation happens and pilots think they are gaining altitude, but they are losing altitude and crash.
We are made for the Way of Love that Jesus teaches us, but the world has trained us to fly upside down. As we go through the Beatitudes, we will take note of how opposite they are to the way of the world. Jesus is giving us flying lessons—how to fly right-side up. We’re meant to fly, to be love, to receive love and to flourish.
Let’s pick up with the 5th Beatitude—read this out loud:
7 Flourishing are the merciful because they will be given mercy.Matthew 5:7
If you have been following Jesus for awhile, this one may not feel very opposite to your conception of life. The Christian becomes more and more familiar with mercy and begins to expect that the ordering of God is merciful.
But, before we go skipping by this assuming that we understand, let’s look a little closer to what the world wants us to live by. Maybe the opposite of mercy is not judgement, but perhaps it is winning.
We live in an uber-competitive world that is always working to establish who is in and who is out, based upon how they performed. We are competitive with each other around our looks, around how many Instagram followers we have or likes we get or what neighborhoods we live in or how much good we do or how successful our children are. The list goes on and on…
Our world trains us to win. These sorts of wins are established by being better than someone else. Mercy is the posture of someone who can be or is better or more powerful, but pardons the one who performs lower for the sake of unity.
1 Corinthians 13 says,
…Love is not jealous or boastful or proud1 Corinthians 13:4 (NLT)
Mercy is refusing the competition or comparison game. And, we flourish in this posture.
This week, pay attention to how the world seeks to elevate winning as paramount to a successful life. Compare and contrast the world’s way with the Way of Jesus—which is mercy.
Read this out loud:
My value does not come from my performance in life. My value is set because I am a Child of God. I can celebrate others and do not need to be stingy with my celebration. I have received mercy from God and so WILL give mercy to others.
Write out a prayer confessing your competitiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you merciful.