A Prayer for Those Who Want to Love Well
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5:13-15
Dear Jesus, I’m thankful the gospel is more like a subpoena than a mere invitation. Our need is so great we could not respond apart from such a strong summons. Indeed, the gospel is a life-giving subpoena—the means by which you call us from death to life and from slavery to freedom. We were just as dead and bound in grave clothes as Lazarus when you spoke the words, “Come forth,” and you raised us from spiritual death.
I praise you for the sovereign, death-defeating, liberty-giving power of the gospel. Those you set free are free indeed! And the freedom to which you’ve called us is to define the rest of our days and permeate every area of our lives.
This is nowhere more necessary than in the world of our relationships. We’re to love one another as you love us, Jesus. According to you, this is a confirming mark of true discipleship (John 13:34). But as in Galatia, so in our churches, marriages and friendships, we often fail miserably in our commitment to the New Commandment. We too fall into “Christian cannibalism”—biting and devouring one another.
Jesus, forgive us and convict us. To love poorly isn’t just a contradiction of the gospel, it’s a sabotaging of your glory and a veiling of your beauty. It’s lying about who you are and what it means to be in relationship with you. May your great and constant love for us bring us to confession, repentance and freedom this very day.
Please free us from acting like relational piranha—nibbling on others’ brokenness and inconsistencies more than we feast on the gospel… holding onto un-forgiveness just to gain advantage in a relationship…rehearsing the sins of others more than we remember the way you’ve forgiven us… being petty rather than patient… critical rather than compassionate… mean rather than merciful. Help us to know when overlooking the failures of others wouldn’t be cowardice, but courage. Help us learn how to conflict redemptively, rather than destructively.
Lord Jesus, we’re eternally free… I’m free… only because of you. Help us to steward this costly freedom today in a world of broken people and broken relationships today. Let us love our neighbors and serve one another with joy. So very Amen, we pray, in your glorious and grace-full name.