Our hearts may condemn us – God doesn’t

1 John 3: 19-22

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our hearts may condemn us, but God doesn’t

KEY TEACHING: God knows and understands our vulnerabilities – and is full of grace and truth for us to remedy them.

Why do we not pray bigger, bolder prayers? Why, when things get difficult, do we tend to sit down, become a victim and think ‘poor old me’ thoughts? Why, spiritually, are we often more fearful than feisty, and flighty rather than fervent?

It’s because, all too often, our hearts condemn us. We think we’re not good enough. Not holy enough. Not spiritual enough. And not going to get God’s attention, let alone action.

How would you feel if your child wouldn’t text you, let alone talk to you, because they felt sure you would tell them that this latest problem was only their own fault? And would you? Almost certainly not, unless every option for improvement had been exhausted many times over, and even then you would hear them out.

Yet we struggle with a false conscience. Some people become incapacitated by the lies about themselves that they keep hearing. OK, you’re not perfect and neither am I – and the Bible does say “Be perfect”, reminding us that this is God’s standard. But His perspective is so much greater than ours. He might just have come across a few more of His children, like us, who were not perfect either, but loved them just the same.

We want to get to a point where our hearts do not condemn us. Knowing that God’s perspective is bigger (and more gracious) than ours is a good start. Then we need to cancel out those lies, put truth against them and renounce them so that their hold on our thoughts is broken.

TO EXPLORE FURTHER: Ephesians 6:10-17, Romans 8:1-2

I have more than one email address and one of them I have used for 20 years (it is a nice memorable one!). You can imagine how much spam that attracts! Probably you have a system for filtering out spam. You can mark an annoying message as ‘false’ or ‘spam’ and then it will be blocked. Caller ID on your phone is similar. You see an 084 call centre type call come up, and you know that they are just stealing your time and attention, so you kill it. Or the call comes through, with clicks and delays and a far eastern call centre voice. What do you do? You say “No!” and hang up. Spiritually the process works along similar lines. You will always get some lying assaults and attacks – that’s why we raise the shield of faith as a holy attitude – but we get good at handling them and make sure that vulnerabilities are sorted out. The Steps to Freedom in Christ are effective in this – a thoroughly biblical process that examines where your heart might condemn you, and why, and enables you to use truth to put it right.

When our hearts no longer condemn us, we can engage with God about our situations and stand in the gap (Ezek. 22:30) for others, and know, absolutely know that our intercession is making a difference. And that’s the way our Father wants it to be!

TAKE AWAY CHALLENGE

Share how you filter out ‘spam’ or ‘junk mail’ in your thought life. How do you identify it? What is your action at that point?

How is your heart? Is it trying to tell you one thing while Jesus is telling you another? Which is more reliable?

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