Don’t we all desire to be loved? Love is a good thing, right? Why would anyone want to be delivered from this desire? The prayer is not asking for deliverance from love, but from an unhealthy desire to be loved. People do all sorts of destructive things to themselves and to others in an attempt to be loved. I can recall times from my own life where this desire got me into big trouble, including choosing the wrong people to attach to and doing bad things in order to feel their so-called love.
There is nothing wrong with loving and being loved by others. The problem is that sometimes we use other human beings to try and fill a void that can only be satisfied by complete trust in God. Also, the desire to be loved can supersede the desire to love. In other words, it becomes all about me. I see this frequently in my clients when their relationships revolve around the question, “What’s in this marriage for me?” I also see it in church goers when the emphasis becomes, “Jesus is mine!” or, “What can God do for me?”
Even the desire to be loved by God can become an idol. God doesn’t want us sitting around soaking up his love. We are called to take that love and spread it around to others, not hoard it for ourselves. The goal of a Christian is not to search around looking for a church where we feel the most loved and accepted. The goal is to love as Christ loves. Look at the cross. Jesus empties himself when he loves. Jesus said, “Pick up your cross and follow me,” not “Go find the softest pew and most accepting congregation.” Giving love is the goal. A desire to be loved gets in the way of giving love. Imagine Jesus throwing down his cross and saying, “Forget this, you people are too mean and you’re not loving me. I’m out of here!”
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus, so that I may love as you love. This is not easy. I need your grace.