when God doesn't agree with our hearts

Hanging out with some brothers this week, we came across this portion of scripture in 1 John:

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how 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.”

It’s in the middle of a discussion about loving each other in real, tangible ways, such as helping one another in times of need. Pretty relevant today, eh?

But there is definitely an intent here of protecting our sense of freedom and rest in God’s presence. I love the way John validates the reality that there are times in this life when our hearts condemn us. And he is telling us that in those times we need to tell our hearts the truth; tell our hearts to be at ease, at rest, if we know we are his.

And then there’s this line, “For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

What an awesome thought. And how meaningful that John would be saying to us, “Hey, there are times when our hearts are going to lie to us, and try to get us under a pile of condemnation. In those times, dial up to your awareness how God is moving on you to actively live out your love for others, and that this shows you are his. And remember, God is bigger than that part of you that is making you feel condemned right now.”

Other parts of the bible come to mind, like, “speak the truth in love” – and how we need to speak it to ourselves sometimes. And “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ” – so if you’re sensing condemnation, and you’re one of his, then you know the source of that condemnation isn’t him.

I keep coming back to “God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” That’s really an amazing truth. There’s so many things we can struggle with on the inside, and our hearts can really sound convincing sometimes! How freeing it is to know that he’s just so much bigger than all that. He’s above all those things that we feel condemned over; isn’t phased in the least. Didn’t even give them a glance. That stuff isn’t coming from him, and he doesn’t agree with it. And he’s always right.

Nice to know.