19We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him
20in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.
21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
22and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
23This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
24The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
It should first be realized that verse 19 refers to the statement in verse 18: Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. That the way we love is an affirmation of where our obedience and allegiance lie, thus giving us confidence that we are working under the confines of God. John’s message of our hearts condemning us reminds me of something I heard in a sermon once, I think I mentioned it before: “New believers ask me how they can be sure they are saved. I tell them to sin and see how it feels.” You see, as believers in Christ, we KNOW when we are doing something wrong. The Spirit convicts us of it.
This is how we can discern right from wrong. Not saying we will always do the right thing, but that we will know if we are doing the right thing. It’s the power of Christ that helps us do the right thing in opposition to the wrong.
This is why being a Christian isn’t about following a bunch of rules. By loving God and abiding in Christ and His will for our lives, we will know what it is we should do. Certainly, our sinful nature will war with that daily. Sometimes we succeed in carrying out that will, other times we fail. Thank God for His grace and mercy over that!
Religion today gives us a bunch of do’s and don’ts. Jesus tells us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul…and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Think about it, is there any of the hundreds of commandments that DON’T fall under that?
Once you decide to repent from your sinful life and focus on Christ by accepting His forgiveness and admitting you are nothing without Him, as the Spirit fills your heart, you will know. Your heart will convict you of the things unglorifying to God and your behaviors will change. Certainly, you have the choice to ignore it and remain the same, but what fun is that? Sometimes we don’t know how to get over ourselves in order to do so. (Thankfully http://www.celebraterecovery.com/ can help us with that!)
What’s the Spirit telling you today?