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The Life We’d Like To See

The annual Texas Book Festival in Austin draws thousands of people who enjoy browsing for books, attending discussions led by acclaimed authors, and gleaning advice from professional writers. At one such festival, an author of young adult fiction told aspiring writers, “Write the book that you want to find on the shelf.” That’s a powerful recommendation for writing and for living. What if we decided to live the way we want everyone else to live?

In Luke 6:27-36, Jesus urged His followers to pursue a lifestyle that demonstrates God’s mercy to all: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (vv.27-28). He also said that generosity and a lack of retaliation should characterize our reaction to unreasonable treatment (vv.29-30). Jesus concluded, “Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (v.31).

Impossible? Yes, if we rely on our own strength and resolve. The strength comes from the Spirit. And the resolve comes from remembering how God has treated us: “He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (vv.35-36). That’s a life we all long to see.

All the way my Savior leads me—
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide? —Crosby
Christianity is not just Christ in you, but Christ living His life through you.