Omniscience

1st John 3:20 — “God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”

Everything. He sees it all. He sees the insecurities behind the image I project to the world. He sees the rebellious heart that seeks my own plans instead of His perfect will. He sees my hesitancy to surrender and my doubt that His way is better. He sees that I am complicated and confusing and confused. He sees every imperfection and mistake. Everything I do, everything I say, everything I am, is open and exposed before Him.

It’s a little embarrassing. I can’t blame Adam and Eve for wanting to cover themselves.

But because I know that God knows everything, too often I forget that He knows everything. He sees that I’m trying. He sees that I’m making progress. He sees that even though I come across wrong and don’t always get it right, my intentions are sincere. He sees my fumbling efforts and understands that I’m attempting to follow Him even though I don’t really know what I’m doing. He sees that although I sometimes try to avoid Him, I really do love Him. And I really do want to be closer to Him.

He sees all of me. He understands all of me. He accepts all of me. And He loves all of me.

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Published in: on June 21, 2011 at 1:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Confidence

“This is 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. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”1st John 3:19-21.

Based on the context of the rest of the passage, I would venture to suggest a couple of word changes to make the language a little clearer (except I can’t take credit for this, because I’m pretty sure it’s stuck with me from a speaker I heard years ago. And yes, I did actually write this in my Bible with a permanent pen). In verse 21, cross out the word “if” and write “since” — and replace “do not” with “cannot.”  And throw in an exclamation mark for good measure. It should now read, “Dear friends, SINCE our hearts CANNOT condemn us, we have confidence before God!” Can’t you hear the triumph in that joyful declaration? There’s no guesswork in salvation! God is greater than our hearts — the truth overrides the self-deprecating lies that Satan plants in our hearts.  Jeremiah 17:9 warns, “The heart is deceitful in all things…who can understand it?” When we let our emotions dictate whether or not we feel secure, we throw away the promise of stability which God offers.

Confidence is the recurring theme throughout 1st John, which is perhaps why I love this book so much — reading it, I can’t help but feel empowered. “We can be confident and unashamed before Him.” “We know that we shall be like Him.” “We have confidence before God.” “We will have confidence on the day of judgment.” “There is no fear in love.” “I write so that you may know that you have eternal life.” “We know that He keeps us safe, and the evil one cannot harm us.”

Claim the promise! If you are in Christ, doubts are groundless and fear will only hold you back. Know that God is greater than your heart. Crush the uprising of doubt and let the truth have the final word!

Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm  Comments (2)  
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For the Whole World

Next thought from the book of 1st John; this one kinda popped out at me in a way it never had before and really convicted me about the way I tend to look down on others.

1st John 2:2“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Honestly, it’s hard to remind ourselves of that sometimes. Too often, I think, we unknowingly pervert the gospel by making it about us. Our intentions are often fine, but it can easily become an attitude of self-centeredness. One such example of unintentionally stimulating this mindset is the popular phrase, “personal Savior.” It’s a good thing to consider the personal aspect of your relationship with Christ; still, too often repeating “Jesus is my personal Savior!” without reminding yourself that Jesus is everyone’s “personal Savior”, can encourage feelings of superiority. Because let’s be honest, we can get conceited really fast.

It rolls off the tongue very easily to proclaim that Jesus is your Savior, but is it just as easy to tell the less-than-wonderful members of society that Jesus is their personal Savior? Or do we want to keep Him to ourselves and away from the depraved people of the world? Do we invite Him to eat with us and then take offense when He socializes with the “tax collectors and sinners”?

Lest we develop a mindset of “it’s all about ME”, John saw fit to add a disclaimer: Yes, Jesus died for you. But He also died for every single person you’ve ever made eye contact with. And every person you’ve turned your eyes away from.

Realize that you’re no more precious to God than the least of these. Reread the verse, but instead of skimming over it, let it take you down a couple of notches and open your eyes to view others the way Christ does.

Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Walking in the Light

The first of many notes on 1st John — I camped out in 1st John for about 4 months, and those pages are so scribbled over with comments that I can hardly read the original text. There’s some powerful stuff packed into those verses, so here’s my first little commentary.

1st John 1:7 If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His son, purifies us from all sin.

Walking in the light signifies transparency.  Too often people interpret walking in the light as living the right way — as “walking in goodness” rather than “walking in transparency.” But it goes so much deeper than that! Living in the light means giving people an invitation to look at your life. People love darkness, not light, when they sin; they hide and refuse to come into the light because they know that it will expose their sin. But those who love God and do His will live in the light, because it shows that their lives are lived dia tou Christou — through Christ (John 3:19 paraphrase).  We tend to dismiss this whole idea of transparency because we don’t want others to see our sins and our struggles and our baggage.  So we put on what Casting Crowns calls the “Stained Glass Masquerade”: With walls around our weakness, and smiles to hide our pain.

But read the next part of the verse: we cannot have fellowship with others unless we get rid of these facades. Maybe this is why there is such a lack of unity in the church today. If we’re broken together, we can stand together. But as long as we’re hiding and pretending and refusing to be honest with one another, relationships will not develop. We will be divided, meeting together in body but not in spirit. And that, fellow Christians, is the death toll of the church.

Finally, we will only be purified if we are walking in this revealing light. Jesus’ blood can only cleanse us if we are open and honest about our struggles and our shortcomings.  So now this becomes more than an issue of privacy — it’s an issue of purity.  This is to be taken seriously; it’s not optional.  Transparency is vital both to your healing (purification) and the healing of Christ’s church (relationships and community).

So take a risk — be the first to truly step into the light. You will experience freedom like never before.

…and that’s just one verse out of the whole book of 1st John.

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 1:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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