Own the Mercy!
Lisa Cooke

Own the Mercy Lisa CookeMatthew Henry’s commentary on Philippians 4:2-9 had this portion that caught my eye today as I was studying. He says, “We must join thanksgiving with prayers and supplications; not only seek supplies of good, but own the mercies we have received.”

That last little phrase “…but own the mercies we have received” made me pause and pay attention. As I’ve thought about this, I realized that this is what thanksgiving does. We are saying we own the mercy received when we thank God for it.

To own something is to “have or possess as property.” We “own” the mercies of God when we possess the good and perfect gifts from God’s hands, knowing that “no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

For example, when we pray with confidence toward Him, asking anything according to His will, we know He hears us in whatever we ask. We know we have the requests we have asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15). Are we fully realizing what a privilege we’ve been given here? We can “own” this mercy of being heard and answered by the God of all creation, by being fully engaged in the process, giving it our full attention. Thanksgiving then should be the receipt of receiving the particular mercy.

Another example is the peace we have with God through the blood of the cross of Christ. We have been “reconciled in His body of flesh by His death in order to present ‘us’ holy and blameless and above reproach before Him” (Colossians 1:22). The magnitude of this incredible grace often escapes us because we are not cognizant of owning this mercy.

How can we focus our attention on these and other invaluable mercies and graces, giving them the honor and prestige they deserve from us?

First of all, we continually see Jesus’ work through His death, burial, and resurrection as the reason behind why we are able to have these mercies to begin with. Nothing we do can deserve the grace He so lavishly and lovingly bestows upon us. This is all His doing and His design. His intention has always been mercy toward us.

Secondly, we take the time to acknowledge what mercies we have been given. I know in my own life, I can get so caught up in the momentum of busyness that I neglect to spend time thinking about what He has done for me. Life in today’s world does not often make room for times of spiritual meditation on the things of God, and this is a spiritual discipline each of us must incorporate for ourselves. The skill of paying attention in an attention deficit environment is what we must develop in order to fully accept and appreciate the mercies that have been graciously offered to us.

Thirdly, each of us has been given the measure of faith with which to receive the mercies of God with. Faith says “it’s mine, I have it now” as we well know. We own the mercies through our faith. They are freely given to us but our faith makes the transaction complete. Faith is the simple belief that God has something for us, and that He wants us to have it.

Finally, thanksgiving is our thoughtful and appropriate response to God for the mercies given. It’s what any courteous person would say to someone who placed a gift in their hand. Our thanksgiving indicates that by faith we believe we receive that which the Father desires that we have.

Well-known precepts are easily overlooked or sometimes even disregarded in the course of our lives. Owning the mercies of God is a simple process involving knowing where they come from, knowing what they specifically are, knowing how to make them ours, and confirming our reception of them through thanksgiving. Our responsiveness to what He’s given us shows that we value the mercies He’s showered upon us.