Scripture: 1 John 3:19b-20, ‘We set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us, for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.’
Observations: John suddenly talking about the state of our heart. In fact, these three verse (3:19-21) are the only times the word ‘heart’ appears in this letter. In Greek our hearts are where our emotions come from. John is talking about two emotions here, the emotion of guilt, or feeling judged or condemned; and the feeling of rest, or being at peace. Often our hearts condemn us, we tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough, or that God couldn’t love us, or that God has rejected us. So how do ‘we set our hearts at rest’ before God at such times? John gives us four ways in this passage. Firstly, ‘we know that we belong to the truth (v19)’ because of our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ (v17-18). Secondly, because we ‘believe in the name of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. (v22)’ Thirdly, ‘we know that God lives in us by the Spirit he gave us. (v24)’ And finally, because ‘God is greater than our hearts.’ God knows everything about us, our faults and failures, our sins and how we stubble, and yet in Christ he doesn’t condemn us, rather he forgives us and gives us eternal life.
Application: When our hearts try to tell us that we are no good, or that we don’t deserve God’s love, or that God could never love us, remember that God is greater than our hearts, that God knows all those things, and yet he loves us so much he sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place in order to make us right with him. Find rest for your heart, not in the fact that you are good and righteous, but in the fact that God is Good and Righteous. Find rest for your heart in the fact that God loves you even when you don’t love yourself.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, so often I don’t feel worthy of Your love, so often I wonder why You would save someone like me, let alone use someone like me. Lord, my heart often reminds me that I am a sinner, that I fall so far short of Your glory. But may I never forget Your grace, the fact that You aren’t limited by my feelings, but that You love me despite my failures, that You sent Jesus to die so that his blood might wash away my guilt and my failures. Lord, You know everything about me and yet in Jesus You love me with a love greater than anything I could ever imagine. Lord, may my heart find rest not in me, but in Your great love for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.