This devotional is designed to help us continue to wrestle with God’s Word during the week. It is loosely based upon the Sunday sermon.
19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. - 1 John 3:19-20
The author William Faulkner once wrote, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.” If there is truth to this statement, it is because it is a conflict that every single one of us knows.
We live in a world that constantly advises: “Follow your heart and you can’t go wrong!” At the same time, each of us knows the experience of our hearts “in conflict with itself.” We can all understand what the apostle John refers to in this verse about hearts that condemn.
Our God says much about our hearts. Never does he say to follow our hearts unless we are first delighting in the Lord (see Psalm 37:4). This is because God knows that our hearts must first be tamed by Christ. They must be tamed because of two forms of condemnation.
First, often our hearts condemn us without right. Our hearts become a megaphone for our own fears, anxieties, doubts, and more. Our hearts are the place that most clearly perceive the temptations and accusations of the Evil One.
Second, our hearts often condemn us rightly. Our hearts are aware of the mixed motives behind even the right we do. Our hearts are aware of the evil that colors our every hour. Rightfully, our hearts condemn us.
Into our heart’s condemnation, God speaks his grace. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” -Romans 8:1. Jesus is victorious over the attacks of the Evil One. Jesus’ love casts out our every fear. Jesus’ grace covers where we fall short and his Spirit lifts us to partner with the fullness of his love for our world.
So, when our hearts condemns us, let us not take the word of our hearts alone. Instead, let us invite God into the conversation. “God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” There we find grace that will reassure us of God’s plans and purposes in and through us. There we will have our hearts restored to us anew!
Lord Jesus, often we cannot begin the first step of faithfulness to you because of the condemnation we feel in our own hearts. We confess this before you. We ask that you would enter into our heart’s conversation. Tame our hearts in the grace of Jesus that we might be reassured of our place in you… that we might move in grace and love in the world you have called us to serve.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.