1 John 3:11-24
Do you ever wake up with thoughts about all the ways you messed up yesterday? Or thoughts about how inadequate you are for the tasks that face you today? Do words of ridicule or hurt haunt you and roll around in your head? If you are human – this has probably happened to you – more than once. My first instinct when I wake up this way is to just go back to sleep – maybe they will be gone when I wake up later! Of course, this doesn’t really work, it might postpone the feelings once I realize how late I am when I wake up later and rush to get going – but it is not a solution to my condemning heart.
This year for our morning devotions before kids get on the bus I chose the book “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing” by Sally Lloyd-Jones (who also wrote “The Jesus Storybook Bible”). Just a few days ago we read “Talk to Yourself!” In this short devotion she asked: Why are people usually unhappy? …Because they are listening to themselves instead of talking to themselves about whose they are and who God is and what God has done.
In the scripture for our sermon this week John writes to the church about this same thing – in 1 John 3:20 – “ whenever our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.” What do we do about this condemning heart? Well don’t crawl back into bed, or let those thoughts continue, speak the promises of God out loud and the truth about whose we are. Here are some examples:
“Nothing can separate us for the love of God in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:39
“How great the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God” 1 John 3:1
“God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son” 1 John 4:9
“Each day God pours His unfailing love on me” Psalm 42:8
This is only a small sample of the numerous assurances in the Bible of God’s love for us and his power to free us from the sin we hold and that holds us. Children also struggle with condemning hearts. Why not take some time to look through the Bible and choose your favorite verses to speak out load against a condemning heart. Write them down and post them in a place where everyone can see them. Talk with your children about this topic and encourage them with your words – tell them they belong to God and are loved by God no matter what they are feeling.
Feelings are not always based on truth – but the Bible is. Speak what you know is true from the Bible – for God is greater than your heart!
May your condemning heart disappear in the light of God’s great love in Christ Jesus!