There is a point in the life of every believer when doubt inevitably creeps in and makes us question the promises of God. I can name quite a few times in my own life when I chose not to believe in His promises. Maybe it was because I didn’t want God to fail me. I wanted something to fall back on in case He fell through. The ability to say “He didn’t really mean that” or “I must have misunderstood him” was a sort of spiritual insurance. In better terms, my “spiritual insurance” was a complete lack of faith and a skewed understanding of the very nature of God, and it was caused by deeply rooted fear in my heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”.
Our hearts are prone to doubt, to fear, to wickedness, and to darkness. We know this, and yet we still allow ourselves to be controlled by our heart. We even allow our faith to be controlled by our heart. This manifests itself in many different ways. I’ve mentioned a couple already- doubt and fear, but we also see it through comparison and emotion. You’ve probably experienced all of these in some way. We doubt our salvation or the promises of God. We are afraid to completely surrender everything to God, to follow wherever He leads, or to stake our entire lives on a God we can’t visibly see. We compare our walk with Christ to that of other believers, and rate our spiritual maturity or effectiveness in ministry on how we measure up to someone else. And finally, we base our worship, Bible Study, spiritual strength, or even our salvation on how we feel.
It’s clear our hearts have a lot of influence, and it’s not positive influence either. So how do we change this? What needs to happen? Let’s take a look at 1 John 3:19-20. It says, “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.”
“Set our hearts at rest in His presence…” Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who talked so much you couldn’t even comment on what they had to say? I think we come to God like that sometimes. When are hearts aren’t at rest, they are babbling on and on. They are consumed with fear, with doubt, with emotion and focused solely on those things. I wonder if we miss some important things that He wants to say to us when we refuse to quiet our hearts as we come into his presence. We drown out his voice with our worries, instead of resting in Him, instead of trusting that He is in control.
“If our hearts condemn us…” Essentially, this occurs when we believe the lies of the enemy. This is the moment when we come before God doubting our salvation. When we hear that voice saying that we are eternally condemned, even if we are truly saved!
“We know that God is greater than our hearts…” What a wonderful reminder! As powerful and influential as our hearts can seem, they are no match for God. We can set our hearts at rest because we know that he is not only above our hearts, but He is above our thoughts, our circumstances, our lives, and our world.
“And He knows everything…” As it talks about in the beginning of 1 John, God is light and in Him there is no darkness. When he sees our hearts, He sees everything! Too often we imagine deep dark places in our hearts, but there is no such thing. Turn the light on, see your heart as He sees your heart- sin and all. He knows all of you, and He still died for you! He also knows the truth about our salvation. He is truth, and He will reveal the truth to you as you seek after Him.
We must turn our eyes away from our hearts that so desperately want attention and instead fix them upon Jesus. We must come before Him with a heart that is at rest and is ready and willing to hear His voice. We must remind ourselves that He is greater than our hearts and he knows all. That is how we change the influence of our hearts. This is what needs to happen in order to begin to have the kind of faith that moves mountains.