Stunned, Gladdened, and Freed by the Love of God

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“I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me.” Song of Songs 7:10

Living in awe of people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety. Prov. 29:25

The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Psalm 118:6

Heavenly Father, of all ploys, traps, and entanglements, the worse is caring too much about what people think of us. When this happens, approval can be as addictive as heroin or money; criticism can cripple, paralyze and kill; coolness and distance can fuel our anxieties, multiply our criticisms, and intensify our shame. Free us, Lord; heal us.

Father, we want your relationship with us in Jesus to be the most defining reality in our lives—our deepest satisfaction and greatest joy. Only your love is better than life. Make your desire for us, and delight in us, more real than anything else. By the truth of the gospel and the power of your Spirit, restore to us the joy of our salvation. Refresh our hearts in your everlasting love and unfailing kindness.

Then free us to love people out of your great love for us—whether our kindness is acknowledged, reciprocated, or ignored. Help us break the cycle of letting people be the thermostat in our lives. People will always make lousy saviors. Nobody can be Jesus to us but Jesus, and we dare not take on Jesus’ role in other people’s lives.

Father, we’re grateful you don’t despise our weaknesses or brokenness, even when we have to confess the same things to you over and over. We long for the Day when we will be made perfect in love. Until that Day, keep assuring us of the sufficiency of your grace and your sovereignty over our relationships. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ welcoming and healing name.

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