Author: Robert Bember
Consider your source. There is a lot of bad information out there. This is why professors would rather you say, “My dog ate my homework” than, “I cited Wikipedia” when you turn in your papers. This is why you should just keep scrolling past click bait articles with headlines that end in “You won’t believe what happened next.” This is why you should click ‘unsubscribe’ on any pastor’s podcasts whose church “pews” previously witnessed Hakeem Olajuwon raise a championship trophy.
One source that we have given far more credibility than it deserves is the 12-ounce, fist-sized organ on the left side of our chest: our heart. Culture and entertainment have encouraged us from the moment we watched our first Disney movie that our heart is our best compass. Despite the warning that it is deceitful above all things, we still want to follow our hearts.
1 John 3 reveals a danger that comes with following our heart.
“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”
-1 John 3:19-22
Sometimes our heart convicts. That is a good thing. We can trust the Holy Spirit to reveal to us darkness. This is cause for praise. It shows us how to do what pleases God by keeping his commandments. We know we are in Christ when we see this work in us.
However, it’s not uncommon to convert conviction into condemnation. I often find myself in this position. I fail and I heap condemnation on myself. The evil one loves to swoop in and make us feel unworthy of the grace and love we have received. We feel dirty and beat ourselves up when we fall short of God’s perfect standard.
Maybe you can sympathize with this, but sometimes it’s not even God’s standard but a standard of my own that I will condemn myself for not living up to, as if I deserve punishment that The Lord isn’t going to give. I break my own rules and fail to be who I want to be, almost as if I know Jesus saved me from my sins against him but not from the sins I commit against my own standards.
I play judge to myself, heaping on condemnation and self-hate that Jesus paid a heavy price to keep me from. It’s not what he wants for me, it’s not what I’m called to, but it is often where I find myself as a result of giving my heart more credibility than it deserves. Condemnation is antithetical to what we are supposed to experience under the yoke of Jesus. While our heart lies to us, a good source promises a lighter yoke.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
This is exactly what John is compelling us to do. Much of 1 John is devoted to assuring us of our salvation. Because we are of the truth, we can reassure our hearts with truth, such as that of Romans 8:1 that tells us our heart can’t condemn us. John reminds us of here is that God is greater than our heart and he knows everything. He is more knowledgeable and authoritative than our hearts.
As an omniscient God, he knows all. There is nothing hidden from him, including the deepest and darkest corners of our hearts. This could be a terrifying reality if not for the accompanying truth that He loves us despite the depths of our darkness. Our heart lies and says we are dirty and unlovable. God says he has made us clean and he loves us dearly.
For those in Christ, God has already determined and displayed how he feels about us. He has decided that he loves us and accepts us regardless of what we have done and regardless of what our heart says. His opinion is higher and of immeasurably greater importance than that of our sin-scarred heart. That will not change.
As the highest authority over all creation, God has the final say. When he says we are perfect and spotless, it is not a metaphor or hyperbole. It is not an opinion. It is reality. It is who we are. Nothing our heart contributes to the conversation has any bearing on what is true. When the all-powerful king of the universe declares one thing and the blood-pumping organ in my chest says another, we trust our creator rather than his creation.
The gavel has fallen. The verdict has been determined. We are adopted sons and heirs, justified and forgiven, sinless and free. We can trust what God has to say about us because he is greater than our hearts. He is a good source. He is the ultimate source.
“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.”
-1 Corinthians 4:3-4
Robert Bember was on BYX staff from 2010 to 2016 in a variety of different roles. He now works in real estate for the Todd Tramonte Home Selling Team. Robert graduated from TCU with a degree in Journalism.