1 John 3:18-24
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
John wrote this letter so that I could know that I have eternal life (1 John 5:13). He gives me lots of tests so that I can tell whether my relationship with God is genuine (the real thing, based on truth), with the intention that I will both be sure to be genuine, and have confidence because the relationship is genuine, and because His promises are genuine.
One of those tests is how my love goes beyond just words into action.
But what if my heart contradicts what I know? What if I know God is faithful and just and that He both forgives and cleanses me (1 John 1:8-9), but my heart condemns me: “But I know what you’re really like. How could you come into his presence”? (My heart is very good at seeing and remembering the things I do wrong.)
John reassures me that God sees the truth. He knows that Jesus made me right with Him, and He knows how unreliable my heart is (Jeremiah 17:9-10). So should I ignore my heart?
For my relationship to be healthy, my heart needs to be sure too. I must love God with all my heart (Deut 6:5), seek Him with all my heart (1 Chron 22:9), praise Him with all my heart (Ps 86:12), desire Him (Ps 119:58), trust Him (Prov. 3:5), pray (Ps 119:45) and rejoice in Him (Zeph 3:14) with all my heart. My heart needs to know that I belong to Him completely. Then I will approach Him with confidence.
Thank you Father that I have certainty, and safety and your boundless love when I come into your presence.
Written by David Cornell