A Prayer about Freedom and Christian Cannibalism

 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Gal. 5:13–15)

Dear Jesus, I’m thankful the gospel is more like a subpoena than a mere invitation. Our need is so great that 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, from slavery to freedom. We were just as dead and bound in graveclothes as Lazarus was when you spoke the words “Come out” (John 11:43), 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 13:34–35). But as in Galatia, so in our churches, marriages, and friendships; it’s a blatant and ugly contradiction of the gospel when we fall into “Christian cannibalism”—biting and devouring one another. Worse, 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. Forgive us; forgive me.

Please show me where I’m living like a relational piranha—nibbling on others’ brokenness and inconsistencies more than I’m feasting on the gospel; holding on to unforgiveness just to gain advantage in a relationship; rehearsing the sins of others more than I’m remembering the way you’ve forgiven me; being petty rather than patient, critical rather than compassionate, mean rather than merciful. Help me know when overlooking the failures of others would be not cowardice but courage. Help me learn how to go through conflict redemptively, rather than destructively.

Lord Jesus, we’re free only because of you. Help me to steward this costly freedom today in a world of broken people and broken relationships. I pray in your glorious and graceful name. Amen.

Smith, Scotty. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith . Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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