The Most Important Question in Life (3): By What Should I Live?

The most important question in life is “Who am I?” We must live our lives knowing our spiritual position. The second most important question is “How should I Live?” This question has a direct bearing on our calling and purpose. Lastly, the third important question is “By what should I live?” This question is about the power of life. By what should you and I live our lives? Today’s reading 1 Peter 2:10 reads, “Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” Without God’s mercy and love, our lives will remain in destruction and damnation. We must live our lives equipped with the power of mercy and love.

By what should we live? First, we should live by the constant impression of God’s mercy on our hearts. How many of us will stand if God sees us truly as sinners and judges us? Our salvation and sustenance of life each moment are the blessings of God’s mercy. The Christian is he who dies on the Cross by God’s righteousness and lives by His mercy. “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3: 22-23). Mercy in Hebrew is Raham, which means intestines or stomach. That God has mercy on us means He loves and pities us to the point of bearing the pain of intestinal rupture. When you are distraught, troubled, and discouraged, remember that you are not alone and God is with you and He has mercy on you.

Second, we must live by the imploration of God’s mercy. We are weak and fall down. We sin. Then we must pray, “Spare thy people, O Lord” (Joel 2:17). French Emperor Napoleon was walking one day and a little girl suddenly knelt down before him. “Your majesty, please forgive my father.” When asked by Napoleon about her story, she replied, “My father has been given the death sentence.” Napoleon responded, “He violated the law and there is nothing I can do” The girl pleaded with tears to Napoleon saying, “I know but I am not demanding justice. I am only pleading for mercy.” After remaining silent, he said to the girl, “I forgive your father because of your appeal. Now go your way.” By our strength alone, we cannot overcome the temptations of sin and pleasure. We must live in dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit by prayer.

There is a difference between the faith of struggle and the faith of submission. When Jacob was wrestling with God at the Jabbok River, he was just a “wrestler.” However when his thigh bone was painfully dislocated, he became a “dependent” on God. Did Jacob win? No. God purposely lost to Jacob just as a father intentionally loses to his little son. In this struggle, Jacob discovers Divine love and mercy and is reborn as Israel. We must pray on our knees ceaselessly and reclusively. He whom God looks upon with mercy is blessed by Him and the church God pities grows and revives. Earnestly seek Divine grace and mercy alone.

Third, we must live by the conferral of God’s mercy and love. The Holy Spirit manifests His presence when we seek and pray for God’s mercy and compassion. What kind of transformation takes place when the Holy Spirit manifests Himself? A new heart. This new heart is not a heart of stone but a tender heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Regardless of its overall beautiful appearance and vibrant color, bone china is a failure if it has cracks and blemishes. Similarly, we are flawed and incomplete if there are blemishes (hate, anger, inferiority, vengeance, envy, etc) in our hearts. We should broaden our hearts by acquiring softened and loving hearts. The exclusive interaction with man is sure to narrow our hearts but the interaction with God broadens our hearts. Our life will be evaluated based on how we reciprocated mercy and love. “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:13). Just as David was compassionate unto Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:1-13) and Paul was merciful unto Onesimus (Philemon 1:17-19), we are called to exercise God’s mercy and love in our lives. Divine mercy and love are the most beautiful virtues in life.

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