Our hearts are a constant pendulum. We waver between emotions — back and forth. We’re happy and then we’re hurt. We’re angry and then we’re over it. We love, and then love becomes hatred.
Almost everything about our hearts can be strangely fickle.
And this applies to our faith in Jesus Christ as well. One day — even one moment — to the next, our faith can swing from one extreme to another. We’re supremely confident in God’s promises. And then our confidence is dashed to pieces.
This is nothing new. It’s the human experience. It’s the sinner’s experience.
That’s why all the way back in the first century, John the apostle spoke to his people about how to regain lost confidence and preserve rapidly evaporating faith.
First, he says, you need to understand your own heart. Your heart will find ways to condemn you. And actually, it’s not all that hard.
Your sins will raise up feelings of guilt and shame. The words and actions of others will provoke feelings of hurt and alienation. Your mistakes and weaknesses will foster feelings of incompetence, unpreparedness and lack of giftedness.
Our hearts easily fill with un-grace. And it’s a lack of grace aimed at our own selves. It’s an inner voice of self-judgment.
Second, John says, you need to understand your Savior’s heart. You must remember that God is greater than your heart.
In other words, what his heart says about you is far more important than what your heart says about you. And what his heart says about you is found at the cross of Christ and the empty tomb.
Where is your heart at right now? Don’t be surprised if you have to admit that your faith is a little shaky. Don’t be shocked if your heart is hurting, not whole. Don’t be taken off guard if you’re sensing more anger and frustration than love and kindness right now. This is all a part of the life of a sinner-saint.
The good news is, if you feel that way, now you know what to do to set your heart at rest. You can look to Jesus, and know that his forgiveness, love and power are with you all the way!
You know this because the holy God who condemns sin in sinful mankind is also the compassionate God who condemned his own Son to pay for your sins. Jesus’ condemnation made God’s compassion your new reality.
“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:19-20, NIV).
Lord Jesus, my heart feels shaky right now. My faith is weak and wavering. But you are greater than my heart. Set my heart at rest. Help me to know that you are with me, and to do the things that will refresh and restore my faith in you. I want to possess a confident faith that leans fully on all your promises.
Our Bible reading for Thursday, December 3, is Daniel 9:20 – 11:1, 1 John 3:11 – 4:6 and Psalm 137:1-9.
Header image based on "Colosseum" by Bob Garland, CC By-SA 2.0