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.
1 John 3:19-22
In our verses today the heart is mentioned 4 times and we will look at each in turn. First let’s provide the a few verses that precede these for context.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18
Immediately following these verses and especially the one that says, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth we read This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence.
So if we want our hearts to be at rest in His presence we need to be loving not with words or speech but with actions and in truth. In fact we have the example of Jesus laying down His life for us. What an incredible example of love in action. We can’t do what Jesus did, we cannot die for someone else’s sins, but we can love with actions and truth. Not only that, but 1 Peter 4:8 says Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. This is because in doing so we are somehow living for God. When we do this we are able to set our hearts at rest in His presence. A short note from a discussion of 1 Peter 4:8
Love covering sin also does not mean we disregard our own emotions or ignore our personal boundaries. We cannot “cover” sin by denying that it hurt us. We cover sin by acknowledging it and then extending the forgiveness God has given us to others.
Still, what If our hearts condemn us? After all we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. He knows if our hearts deceive us in which case our hearts can condemn us before God. James 1:26 covers this very well when it says If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. NKJV.
After making this point, John returns to his former point and writes Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him. This is not some form of name anything, because it is asking for anything in His will because we are keeping His commands and doing what pleases Him. So John concludes with commands to believe and love.
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.
1 John 3:23-24
It’s Monday, I hope you have a Great Week thinking on how much attention God pays to our hearts and as a result thinking on how much attention we should be paying to our hearts.