Distinguished by Love, Part 1

You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
    you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
    I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
    I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
    my feet have not slipped.

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
    incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show [distinguish me by] your steadfast love,
    O Savior of those who seek refuge
    from their adversaries at your right hand.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who do me violence,
    my deadly enemies who surround me…

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
    when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.Psalm 17:3-9,15

The Christian is distinguished by God’s love when God first sets His affection on us. He knew and named us before we were born, formed us, and called us to Himself. We have been bought with a price, washed, saved, and redeemed. We are indwelt by God’s Spirit, and are being sanctified, defended, prayed for, and kept. (Psalm 139:13-16; Matthew 27:51Romans 8:29-39; 1 Corinthians 6:11,19-20)

We are also distinguished by love when we pray. The rent veil at Jesus’s crucifixion opened the way for us to approach Him directly, and this was accomplished by His paying our ransom, atoning for our sin. Our ability to communicate in a relationship with the Divine is made possible by His grace, forgiveness, and our High Priest mediator, Jesus. In this secret place we can trust His searching, look for His guidance, ask for His favor and protection, confide our deepest fears and longings, and secure our hope. All because of His astounding love. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Hebrews 4:14-16)

Our very desire to believe and commune with Almighty God is a gift from Him, as are the fruits of His discipline– peace and joy, steadfastness in obedience, endurance in suffering, and determination to say no to sin and follow His ways. All these come from His bounty of measureless love. (Romans 5:1-5; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11-12)

What evidence is there in how I view myself that I am grounded in God’s love for me? Do I feel more distinguished by regrets, failures, background, or past sins than I do by God’s unmerited love? Do I struggle with insecurity because I waver between ‘deserving’ due to accomplishments, appearance, or worldly approval, and ‘never enough’ when I fall short of some self-imposed standard? Taking mind off self and grasping the Almighty’s amazing love for us in Christ is the only way to be marked forever by His nail-scarred hands, distinguished once for all as His.

Will we purpose this day to delight and rest secure in His steadfast love?

Father, keep me rooted and grounded in love, daily growing in my comprehension of just how wide and long and high and deep is Your love for me and for Your people. Distinguish me and transform me by that love’s imprint on my heart, and by Your Spirit, fill me to overflow with love for You in return. (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 3:17-19)

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