Motivated by Mercy

“Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).  
 
Have you ever wondered why humans are motivated? What makes us want to devote our time and attention towards a project, a dream, or a person? As we discussed in our previous devotion about the meaning of worship, what we dwell on is what we worship. But what makes us want to worship the Father? Where does the motivation to worship come from?  

Our God is a god of majesty and mercy. What exactly is mercy, then? Mercy is when a guilty person does not get what he or she deserves. They are pardoned, excused, and declared free of blame. Even though we are born into a wicked and sinful world, God shows us mercy. We don’t get what we deserve, which is death, and instead we receive His grace.  

We are given life, and we are sustained by Him alone. When we remember how empty life was without the Lord, we are moved by the great lengths He has gone to save us. He suffered the fate that should’ve been ours. Mercy, therefore, is our motivation.  

Romans 12:1 states, “…by the mercies of God…present your bodies as a living sacrifice.” Yesterday we discussed how worship is an act of spiritual sacrifice. The first time the word “worship” is found in scripture is in Genesis 22 verse 5 when Abraham says to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship…” In this passage, Abraham and Isaac go up the mountain where God has commanded Abraham to sacrifice his own son. He says they are going to worship—not with song or with instruments, but with sacrifice. Obedience is an act of worship.

We love to think of worshiping God as fun, and He wants us to enjoy it as well. It’s easy to find joy in worship when we are caught up in the simple pleasure of being with our Father or when we receive a blessing that we’ve prayed for—that’s an easy place to worship Him. That’s a paradise.  

But other places are more desolate. You’ll find yourself in the desert or climbing a mountain that you never wanted to climb. When the Lord tells you to do something you don’t want to do, there’s a hidden desire and devotion in your heart to obey a God you’ve never seen. But why would anyone obey a God who asks so much?  

Because of mercy. Mercy motivates you in the worst of situations. You don’t question His motives or His character, because you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.  
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