TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL (Monday 3RD May 2021)
“And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:38-43 NKJV
WELCOME TO THE 123RD DAY OF OUR YEAR OF HIGHER HEIGHTS!
We bless the God of Heaven and earth, who stepped down as Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for us, for giving us another day to fear Him and serve our generation according to His will. Day unto day He have been uttering speeches to us, and night unto night revealing knowledge.
We rode on the wing of a divine revelation on showing mercy into the new month. Today we will continue on the same flow.
You see, one major error we usually find ourselves in, as believers, on matters of mercy, is the error of either being mean and wicked, covering it up with speaking in tongues or excessive spirituality, or being more merciful than God, which we addressed yesterday.
Both are very destructive.
On the error of being mean and wicked, and covering it up with speaking in tongues or excessive spirituality, the Bible says we should never lead a kind of Christianity where someone will be in need, we have what they need, but tell them to kneel down so we can pray for them. Or tell them to go and come back.
Except, the LORD genuinely restrains you from doing something for them, that will be wickedness. It is when a so called believer in Christ, shuts his or her heart towards someone in need that he or she does that.
The best time to show mercy is when someone needs it. The Bible says,
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17 NKJV
Yesterday we also admonished that we walk in the sensitivity of the Spirit in dealing with needy people around. Through effective spiritual sensitivity we can tell, who is genuinely in need and who is just taking advantage of us. We can also tell who do not need what they may be asking us for, but just thinks that is what they need.
Sometimes we give people what they think they need while that is not what they really need. Sometimes, someone may need divine favor and we hand them human favor by giving them what they say they need.
IT IS SPIRITUAL SENSITIVITY THAT WILL HELP US SPOT THE DIFFERENCE.
Our visions for showing mercy must hinge on a righteous desire to be an extension of God’s mercy to needy people. That will call for a partnership with the Holy Spirit to know who the Father what to show mercy to by our hands at a particular time. Even Jesus did not heal all sick people he met.
Some He looked and passed, others He went to meet them where they were. The same applies in matters of showing mercy. In Him we find the pattern for being an extension of God’s mercy, because most times, people show mercy for the wrong reasons. He said in His word,
“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:30 NKJV
In showing mercy, we must not do it of our own selves. We must be led or prompted by the genuine Holy Spirit. We must do it according to what we are hearing or judging from the Holy Spirit.
That brings us again to the subject of hidden intent or motive.
From the word motive, we get the word motivation, which means the inspiration behind one’s actions. The motivation or inspiration behind our actions must not be for us to do our own will, or make a carnal impression in the life of the needy!
It must be for us to be an extension of the Father’s mercy to the needy He reveals to us to touch, at an immediate present. It must strictly be for us to do the will of the Father.
It is when we do the will of the Father that He will be glorified in their lives. When He is glorified in their lives, they will be leading a life with Him at the center of their lives, and we can influence them to remain faithful to Him even in difficult times.
So when it comes to serving as an extension of GOD’s mercy to someone, how Jesus did it when He was physically on earth must be respected and followed. Now, to respect and follow what Jesus laid down for us as a pattern, it is important for us to see the frailty of our own understanding in showing mercy.
IN YESTERDAY’S DEVOTIONAL, WE SAW THE FATAL,CONSEQUENCES OF LEANING ON OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING IN SHOWING MERCY.
The King of Israel leaned on his own understanding, and ended up making very devastating judgment and decision.
The mercy He showed to the king of Syria, cost him his life and the life of his people according to scriptures. He called someone who came to kill him, but got overpowered by the LORD, “my brother.” That is what many of us do, consequently bringing destruction upon ourselves.
When it comes to showing mercy, the most dangerous thing to do at any time as a Christian, is to lean on your own understanding. The Bible says,
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8 NKJV
When we lean on our own understanding, we destroy ourselves despite of our noble intentions like the king of Israel did.
We can never succeed as effective extensions of God’s mercies leaning on our own understanding. And the Bible presented one thing that will help us not to lean on our own understanding. That thing is, “acknowledging God in all our ways.”
In matters of showing mercy, we must acknowledge God’s way of doing it. In other words, whatever the Bible presents as God’s standard for showing mercy must be acknowledge, and the Holy Spirit will that to direct our paths. That brings us to our devotional text.
We see God’s standard for showing mercy in what transpired between the dying savior, and the perishing thieves on the cross in our devotional text. The response of the LORD to the criminal who asked to be remembered in His coming kingdom speaks volumes on matters of God’s mercy. The Bible says,
Then he said to Jesus,
“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
It just dawned on me that, if that man had not asked to be remembered in Christ’s Kingdom, he would have just died and ended up damned forever. His simple request gave him an eternal rest with Christ that some in church today may never get, come to talk of those in the lost world.
Indeed, it is very easy to make Heaven, especially when you meet the LORD on your dying bed. It is as simple as asking the LORD to remember you in His kingdom.
Another thing that strikes me here is God’s standard for showing mercy.
The two criminals would have all made it to Heaven but for the heart and mouth of one. Jesus was silent until one got it right and said the right thing into His ear. If you want to show mercy, you must follow this standard.
The hearts and the mouths you are dealing with must me be right. The state of a man’s heat is usually reveled by what comes out of their mouths. So, you must be sensitive.
Sometimes, the lives of people could be sinful but the hearts right. When it is so, then your mercy can turn them away from their sinful ways.
We can go on and one but I believe the message of today have been passed. Use these few thoughts shared, to make sure that mercy and truth remain with you; make sure that they do not forsake you!
LET THIS SCRIPTURE BE AN ADDITIONAL MEDITATION FOR YOU TODAY
My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.
Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:1-6 NKJV