Grant me to hear thy voice assuring me: that by thy stripes I am healed, that thou wast bruised for my iniquities, that thou hast been made sin for me that I might be righteous in thee, that my grievous sins, my manifold sins, are all forgiven, buried in an ocean of thy concealing blood.

I am guilty, but pardoned, lost, but saved, wandering, but found, sinning, but cleansed.

from “A Broken Heart” in The Valley of Vision

Lord, I confess that my hearts longs, too often, for the respect and admiration of others. I feel this, both when I receive those things and when I do not. When others think well of me and speak well of me, my spirit soars into the atmosphere of pride, arrogance, and feelings of smug, self-righteous superiority. When others do not think well of me or speak well of me, I plunge into the depths of despairing narcism and self-doubt.

Father, I need your grace to see myself as you see me. My worth in your eyes is not built upon my work, but Christ’s. He is my vindication, therefore it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. He is my reputation, therefore it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. All others will, in the end, leave me or forsake me…but Christ never will. The approval of man is but a mist that appears for a while and then vanishes (James 4:14). The acceptance and love of Christ are deeply rooted – I was loved before the foundation of the earth (Eph 1:4-5) – and growing into eternity itself. The love of man is fleeting and unstable. The love of Christ is unchanging and unshakeable (Rom 8:38-39).

All others will, in the end, leave me or forsake me…but Christ never will.

Help me, Father, to be satisfied in the depths of my heart by the deep, deep love of Christ. Help me to seek approval in him alone. Free me from the desire to find joy and fullness in the approval of others.

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