A while back, Scotty Smith wrote on the topic of loving others – and how we can fully and freely do so only when Jesus is our sole satisfaction and deepest identity. Scotty wrote this as a prayer, but I’ve reworded it as a brief article. Enjoy.

Of all the pits easy to fall into, being too impacted by how people relate to us is the pit with the deadliest toxins in it. When people have too much power over our hearts, their approval can be as addictive as heroin or money. Their criticism can paralyze and kill us, like the venom of vipers. Their distance can fuel our anxieties and intensify our shame.

All of us want our relationship with Jesus to be the most defining reality in our lives—our greatest peace, joy, and hope.

We need to regularly ask God to restore to us the joy of our salvation; to renew our experience of His delight in us; to refresh our hearts in His everlasting love and unfailing kindness.

Only God’s love is better than life.

We need to be freed to relate to people and love them, “as unto the Lord,” as an act of worship—whether our kindness is acknowledged, reciprocated, or ignored.

We need to ask God to help us break the cycle of letting people be the thermostat in our lives. People will always make lousy saviors. Nobody can be Jesus to us but Jesus; and we dare not take on Jesus’ role in other people’s lives.

We need to be grateful that our heavenly Father doesn’t despise our weaknesses or brokenness, even when we have to confess the same things to Him over and over.

We long for the Day when we will be made perfect in love.

Until that Day, Lord, we ask that you would keep freeing us from our “people idolatries.”

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”
(Eph. 6:7 NIV)

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
(Gal. 1:10 NLT)

“The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
(Psalm 118:6 NIV)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
(Jer. 31:3 NIV)

(Bold and italics mine)