See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…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. (1 John 3:1, 19–20)
God’s opinion of you is not necessarily the same as your opinion of yourself. This is one of the hardest things for us to learn. Until we do, we are going to be ruled by our self-opinions.
Most of the time, we tend toward smugness or despair in our view of ourselves. In the case of smugness, we feel that God is very pleased with us because of how well we’ve performed. We think, “Wow, I’m doing great. God must be so impressed with my success.”
In the case of despair (often over some sin or failure), we perceive God with arms crossed, shaking His head at us in total disgust. We think, “I’m such a loser. God must be so tired of my screw-ups.”
In either case, we need to recognize that we are projecting our self-opinion upon God. You see, God’s opinion of you has nothing to do with these categories. Smugness and despair are mere human ways of thinking and feeling. God’s opinion of you exists in a category all its own.
As John says, “…whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart.” This is because God’s love preceded your performance and your self-opinions. Before you ever succeeded or failed in life, His love was firmly and irrevocably fixed upon you in Christ. And because of that, your standing as His child is not contingent upon anything in you.
Don’t miss what is undergirding John’s point: “God knows everything.” Before you were born, God knew every single thing about your life. He knew your every success. He knew your every failure. And He chose you to be His child, not because your success-to-failure ratio was to His liking, but because His desire for you was rooted in unconditional love. That’s the nature of God’s heart; it’s the very essence of His being. It’s why John can rightly say that “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).
Therefore, God never responds to our successes by being impressed, nor does He respond to our failures by shaming us. Instead, He always responds in perfect love because that’s who He is. To know this is to know that you are of the truth, which enables you to have tremendous confidence in His presence.
Perhaps you need to stop and pray about this. Maybe you’re being carried about in life by your self-opinions rather than God’s opinion of you in Christ. If so, ask Him to graciously correct that, and to open your eyes to see things the way He sees them.
As we gather this Sunday, we need to rediscover how loved we are. We need to see that because of what Jesus has accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection, we have complete assurance of God’s love. To that end, will we abandon our merely human categories? Why not instead allow the truth that “God is love” to make us confident in His presence as we gather?
Set List for Sunday, June 03, 2018:
The Lion And The Lamb (B. Brown, B. Johnson, L. Mooring)
Man Of Sorrows (B. Ligertwood, M. Crocker)
More Like Jesus (B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood, K. Stanfill, B. Younker)
Come Thou Fount (R. Robinson)
Heart Abandoned (S. Curran, K. Stanfill)