by Becca Lehde, Frontier Fellowship Board Member
There’s a tendency for the joy of salvation to fade into the slump of everyday life. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to dig myself out of a deep hole, and the only thing I succeed in doing is piling more dirt on myself, not getting an inch closer to the top. I’ve learned to be self-sufficient, to creatively troubleshoot whatever’s wrong and only ask for help when my own methods aren’t working anymore.
It’s human nature to want to be loved and accepted. God made us to desire those things. But sin has so damaged our relationship with God that many of us find it difficult to accept His grace. So we strive to prove ourselves, to do enough to be found worthy. Many religions, including legalistic forms of Christianity (practiced outside the grace of Jesus), further compel people toward self-reliance: do enough good to outweigh your sin and thus earn your salvation.
In Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah grieves God’s judgment over sin and its consequences. But in today’s reading, his sorrow turns to hope as he recalls that God’s nature is compassion expressed through grace and mercy. His faithfulness is a love that endures in all circumstances.
Because of sin, we’re not just broken people, we’re dead people. And there’s nothing we can do to pull ourselves up out of the grave. But God, whose love, mercy and faithfulness know no bounds, demonstrated His kindness to us by sending His Son who triumphed over sin (Romans 5:8). It’s Jesus who makes us alive again, and it’s His kindness that continually leads us to repentance and new life, no matter how often we fail (Ephesians 2:1–7, Romans 2:4).
Even as we experience fresh mercies from God each day, it will still take all of eternity to reveal the extent of His kindness to us. As you prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth, thank God for showing you His kindness by sending Jesus to earth. Thank Him for making you alive again through Christ, freeing you from an endless cycle of trying to atone for your sin and become righteous based on your merit. And ask Him to show you how to extend such lavish mercy to others.
Read more from our Advent devotional series.