Trading Misery for Mercy

by Richard Mansel
Without Christ, we are miserable. While people without him think they are happy, they are shortsighted and deluded. They continue to search for the new thing and the ultimate high to fill the hole in their hearts. Nevertheless, they never find satisfaction. Satan clouds their eyes, stops their ears, and tells them everything is fine while lulling them back to sleep. The master deceiver is always ready to destroy people’s lives (John 8:44). Sadly, people are lined up, eager to comply (Matthew 7:13-14).
Some awake to the misery of their spiritual condition and begin searching for answers. At this point, Christians must try to find these seekers while there is still time. If not, charlatans in spiritual clothes will sweep them into their webs and kill them with their poison.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29-30). This is a clarion call for the person who is sick of being controlled by sin. They find their behavior repugnant and hunger for a change. The Psalmist said, “For innumerable evils have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head; Therefore my heart fails me” (Psalm 40:12).
Do we consider how much time we waste sinning? If we compile the time spent in sinful pursuits and apply it to service, teaching the truth or becoming more knowledgeable of Scripture, imagine the good we could accomplish.
We can indeed step out of this vicious cycle of sin and guilt. We can stop beating ourselves up over our endless transgressions. Wordsworth wrote, “From the body of one guilty deed a thousand ghostly gears and haunting thoughts proceed.” /1
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). We can displace the misery of sin with God’s mercy. We have no hope without it (Lamentations 3:22-24).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). God turns a life of despair into a life of joy.
When we become a Christian by the grace of God we are filled with something so powerful that sinful man cannot hope to possess it (Acts 2:38; Ephesians 2:8-9). When we sin, God forgives us (Psalm 86:5). When we serve him, no matter how small, God sees us (Psalm 139:7-12). When we pray, God listens (James 5:16). When we fall, he helps us up (1 John 1:9). When we are weak, he gives us strength (Ephesians 6:10). The sinner has none of these blessings at his fingertips (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Accepting the misery of sin while neglecting the mercy of God is absurd, to say the least. God offers an abundant life that sin cannot hope to match (John 10:10). Christ’s arms are wide and his mercy ready to be showered on our lives if we will humble ourselves before him and be reborn (James 4:10; John 3:3-5; Acts 22:16). Finally, we can face the mirror, dispense with the late nights of shame and guilt and awake to the praise and glory of God!

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