Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:43–44 (NIV)
Lord Jesus, as surely as you spoke the words, “Come out,” and a dead Lazarus came alive, so when you spoke the gospel to our hearts, we too were raised to newness of life. We have passed from death to life, from condemnation for our sins to the righteousness of faith, and from the power of sin to a life of grace. Thank you, many times over.
Yet as surely as Lazarus needed to be freed from his grave-clothes, so do we. The smell and signs of death still cling to us, bind us, and trip us up. There are areas of our lives for which we long greater freedom.
We crave freedom from our self-centered worries and our soul-sapping fears. Jesus, you have the hearts of all the kings in your hand—not to mention our days, wounds, longings, and burdens.
The most tenacious fragment of our grave-clothes, still wrapped tightly around our hearts, is our unbelief. Jesus, free us to trust you with all things at all times. Free us to love you more than anything or anyone else in the world. We really do want to be that free.
And grant us greater freedom from caring too much what people think of us. Some people have way more power over our hearts than they deserve. Their criticism can devastate us; and their praise can make us. May your great love for us, and delight in us, shift the center of our relational world.
May we stay more alive to your love than our losses, and more tuned in to what we do have in you, than what we don’t have and won’t get anywhere else. So very Amen we pray, in your glorious and grace-full name.