Sunday, December 25, 2011

What About Mercy?

Galatians 1:3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

When you go to the beginning of each of Paul’s epistles, you’ll find this phrase. But there are three epistles where it varies. Both letters to Timothy and the one to Titus. Each mentions those persons by name and adds mercy to the list. If you think about it, the reasoning is pretty easy to figure out.

The founding pastor of our ministry described grace as giving us benefits we don’t deserve and mercy as taking away things we do deserve. Both are true. But I think God’s mercy goes beyond that. Adam and Eve took us into a realm of thought and behavior that was far from God’s intent. Their deviation from God’s heartbeat opened mankind up to spiritual attack that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. For you and I, it’s an inheritance we don’t want and didn’t personally create. But here we are. And you’d think that we need mercy as much as a Timothy or Titus. But is that true?

Timothy and Titus were both church leaders. If you consider levels of coverings and the trickle down effect they have, it becomes clear why mercy got special mention for Timothy and Titus. Blessing and covering goes from God to leader to Body member. And, yes, there are times God mixes that up a little. But that’s the usual flow of things. Along with the blessings and the wisdom of what to pass along, the leader ends up in a more vulnerable position. Besides being more open to direct blessing, he’s also more open to direct attack from the other kingdom.

The attacks are intended to do several things:
  1. destroy the leader’s connection with God,
  2. spiritually cripple the leader,
  3. make the leader appear spiritually inept, even if he isn’t,
  4. disrupt the flow between God and His Body through the spiritual leader.
A leader is more likely to be attacked and the attacks against him will be heavier. Because Satan knows that, if he can wound or spiritually kill a leader, there is a whole segment of God’s Body that no longer has a covering. And is easier to then be successfully attacked. By harming the leader, Satan has already inflicted a wound on the rest of the Body.

This is a heck of a Christmas thought, isn’t it? But it actually is. The Father gave us all our Savior, Jesus Christ. He took the brunt of the punishment we deserve, weakened the sting of the attacks Satan would throw at us. But, for every action and thought, there’s a consequence. So, it’s not all gone. Just as we all need Christ’s sacrifice, He gave us more. He gave us leaders to be examples and to teach us. So that we have direct ways to learn how to grow stronger in our relationship with God. When they’re attacked, they need more help from God.

A leader needs more of what he deserves, by action or by inheritance, taken away. Because even the slightest disturbance in his relationship with God will disrupt the chain of blessing that trickles down to the rest of us, like the drippings of the anointing oil from Aaron’s beard (Psalm 133:2). So, our 365 day a year Christmas present to our spiritual leaders ought to be prayer for God’s grace, peace and mercy in their lives. And for our government leaders, as well. Even if they don’t know God, our prayers can open their minds to His thoughts.

We wish everyone a blessed Christmas and we’re looking forward to an exciting new year.

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