Over the summer, I preached through an eleven-week sermon series on the attributes of God. In terms of theological studies, there might be no greater subject to embark upon. The Doctrine of God is the richest, deepest and most profound subject in all of Scripture. One could spend a lifetime investing himself studying the one, true, living God.
Since it was only an eleven-week series, I hit on the high-points such as God’s omnipotence (all-powerful), omniscience (all-knowing), His immutability (God is unchanging), holiness, grace, love, wrath, righteousness, etc. These are all profound characteristics that when brought together begin to reveal our God. But, the one that struck me above all was the sermon on God’s mercy.
Let me explain.
On April 15th 2007, I moved to Tennessee in order to get sober and find a new life. To say I was an addict would be an understatement. In my former life, I was absolutely entrenched in sin and it almost brought me to the point of destruction. Eventually, I hit bottom. I didn’t believe I could on. Being under influence was killing me and sobriety was miserable.
I didn’t know what to do; so, I turned to God. I asked Him to do for me what I could not do for myself, but His help did not come immediately (or at least I didn’t think it did).
Shortly after I arrived in Tennessee life began crashing down all around me again. In the past, I would have turned to substances to numb the pain. That’s what I always did, and it worked. But, once again, I cried out to the Lord. I asked Him to help me. Just help me! It was all I could pray! Sometimes the only thing we need to say is, “help!”
I went to bed that night. I remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up early in the morning and I knew something had changed. The desire to drink and drug was gone. I felt new. I had faith in God like I never had before. I experienced…mercy!
You see, in my moment of despair, I didn’t need God to omnipresent. I didn’t need Him to be immutable or omnipotent. I am glad He is all those great things now, but in that moment, I needed a God of mercy. I felt like the Tax Collector in the temple who wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to Heaven. All he said was, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:9-14).
And, thanks be to God, He was merciful to me. He did not treat me as my sins deserve (Psalm 103:10) but showed me love and removed my transgressions that I committed against Him (V.11-12). He had compassion on me and gave me strength in my weakness (V.13-14), and for this I am eternally grateful.
When gratitude fills your heart, there is no room for pride, anger, discontentedness, or fear. Christians above all people should have hearts that are filled with thanksgiving because of God has done for us in Christ.
So, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many things—family, my church, all the great blessings God has given us, but none of this is the basis of my joy. To get to the heart of my gratitude, you must look to the cross where my Savior bled for me, where my eternity was secured and the cost of my redemption was paid. He is the source of my thankfulness.
If you know someone struggling with addiction, please give them this article and feel free to contact me. I would love to help in any way I can. God bless!