Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

We Are Beloved

Week 9  God’s Love for Us

Day 60

We Are Beloved

Your happiness does not depend on your ability to obey God, but rests fully upon God’s unfailing ability to love and forgive you.


he Lord urges us to stop being so protective of our own rights in relation to our fellow human beings. In truth, we have no entitlement but the one the Lord accords us: the right to be loved as children of God. This great blessing is enough to sustain us for all eternity, and should enable us not to worry so much about our boundaries, goals, and dreams. We risk wearying the Almighty God with our constant moaning over what we have given up for His sake. He would like us to focus instead upon what we have gained. We should emulate the Apostle Paul, who said, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”[i]

We can’t editorialize our hearts before the Lord in order to present ourselves in the best light; He sees and knows all. Do we leave the needs of our loved ones unmet while we fulfill self-appointed schedules of “time with the Lord?” When we are pompous and prideful in our outward forms of righteousness, we are only saved from God’s wrath by grace through Christ. It is solely because of God’s mercy, and not because we have met any self-determined quota of Holy practices, that He is our strength and help.

Our antipathy toward all things unpleasant can tie us to the comfort of an armchair-bound study of Scripture in a deadly faith-without-works cocoon of self-protection. Aversion to discipline and a tendency toward procrastination are forms of detachment, ways of postponing the discomfort of things that are unpleasant. Avoidance of housekeeping chores or of following a healthy diet brings consequences that are bad enough, but detaching from people is worse. Jesus never detached from hurtful or sinful people, and placing boundaries around our hearts keeps us from following His example of loving and forgiving others. 

But what do we do when life delivers nearly killing blows? How do we survive when our hearts can't bear the weight of grief or pain? And how, even when we purpose to move forward, do we step out with undivided hearts? So often we would like to avoid pain; we would prefer to detach. 

Scripture provides guidance of how to handle this human tendency of withdrawal from all things unpleasant, especially in the wake of hurtful events:  

  • Continue to do good (1 Peter 4:19).  
  • Recognize that nothing unusual is happening (1 Corinthians 14, 1 Peter 4:12-13).   
  • Stay engaged with other Christians; forgive as Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13).
  • Be joyful and thankful, and not in a negative way, as in "at least we haven't had a trip to the emergency room lately..." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). 
  • Most importantly, place yourself in the path of God’s love through praise (Psalm 33:1-3 – below). Praise opens our hearts to receive God’s love.

Pray:  Dear Lord, please grant me the ability to stay engaged with Your interests in other people, even when that openness threatens the walls of self protection I’ve raised. I release my boundaries to You, and give You full access to my time, labor, and other protected places I have in the past called “my own.” Please free me from fear of not having things my own way. Lord, grant me the ability to keep myself in the path of awareness of Your great love as I praise Your Holy Name. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. 


Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
Psalm 33:1-3

[i] Philippians 3:8

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