Our heavenly Father, if we approached You this morning with our own achievements we would surely stand before You with empty hands. But we worship You with thanksgiving for giving us the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which fills our hands with a pleasing sacrifice in your sight. We pray that You will more and more install into us living faith to receive your grace to expel the sinful powers that hinder love to blossom and bear fruit.
Satan would want us to feel guilty, and to fight for our spiritual survival in self-centred depression and self-pity, unable to see the vastness of your mercy. If we have a wrong understanding of grace we become hypocritical and try cover our guilt, and so destroy all sincerity in relationships, which makes real love impossible; or we rumour about other people’s faults to minimise our own guilt. To meet your demand to love with all of our heart, mind, should and strength the destructive effects of guilt must be overcome.
If guilt is not removed we become fearful and we tend live in our own comfort zone and do not approach fellow human beings who might need a word of welcome and encouragement. Or we may reject the calling of being your disciples wherever we go, because it sounds too dangerous. Or in order to experience some security we may waste money on excessive luxuries. If no,t we might get swallowed up in all manner of little phobias that make us preoccupied with ourselves, which blind us to the needs of others. All of this sort of behaviour is the opposite of love.
Or we might be greedy money on unnecessary luxuries. We don’t undertake anything risky, purely to build a wall around our precious possessions. We focus on things instead of people, or we see people as resources for our material advantage. So love is ruined.
Give us instead a faith in grace and your absolute forgiveness which produces love, dispelling guilt and fear and greed out of our lives. Help us to hold fast to the hope that the death of Christ is sufficient to secure forgiveness and righteousness now and forever (Hebrews 10:14). Help us to anchor our lives in the unfailing promises of the Scriptures,”Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36, NKJV) Give us the freedom that expels greed because it is confident that Christ is greater wealth than all the world can offer.
Grant us quick, specific, joyful repentances. Destroy our attempts at blaming others for our lousy attitudes and poor choices. Grow our capacity to stay engaged in relationships. Help us hear people clearly, and not put our meaning on their words.
Free us to love your church more than ever, see your hand and heart at work everywhere we look, and serve and encourage others every day.
Hear our prayer, in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.