Don't Trust Your Heart; Trust Your God
1John 3: 19-20 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
We spend so much time in our walk talking about victory in Christ and singing about being free but it is so disheartening to continue to watch these be mere words in the lives of Christians today. It seems like we can all read the Bible and internalize its words only to cast them aside for our feelings, our disappointments and the lies of the enemy which come with them. What it comes down to is whether or not we belong to the truth as the key verses state. We can know the truth and yet still not allow it to set us free. We can know the truth, recite it, teach it, and believe it right up until the moment we need to belong to it in our lives.
That is the first lesson from the key verses today we need to belong to the truth. Now we know the truth is the Jesus and His Word but what exactly does belonging to it mean? The dictionary defines belong as, "A member, an adherent, an inhabitant." To be a member of the truth means that we must be a part of it. The relationship is not a casual one but rather a serious one; a commitment:
Commit everything you do to the L ord . Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37: 5 (NLT)
But we sometimes are not good with this commitment. We become part time believers. We believe God for one thing or another until something we feel comes against something we believe. Then suddenly we defer to our feelings. But we are not only to be a member of the truth but we are to be an adherent, or a follower. This starts to get closer to home. We often times have a difficult time being a follower. Even the modern day church has become enamored with leadership; perhaps because it has often failed at following. But what was the instruction from the Apostle Paul:
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1Corinthians 11: 1 (NIV)
Follow; follow. An adherent follows the truth. We do not deviate from it because we might feel differently. There are things in the Bible that may escape our human understanding. God is not asking you to figure Him out; He is asking you to trust Him that He knows better. In the same letter, Paul goes deeper:
My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 1Corinthians 1: 11-13 (NIV)
Christ is the truth and that is what we need to be an adherent to. But when we come against our feelings we can often start to follow other things. We can seek out our friends for advice, our therapist for advice, or worldly solutions to help deal with what we are facing. We start to divide Christ against our emotions. We say, "Well I believe in God but I follow what my best friend says" or "Well I believe in God but I can't control my feelings." These shackles and bondages are exactly what Christ died on the cross to set us free from! But we must become part of the truth we espouse belief in. We must follow it because we know that while our feelings will often seek to betray us, God never will.
We aren't only to be a member and adherent, we also must be an inhabitant of the truth. We must live in it. Unfortunately we can get spiritually lazy. We go to church for services and serve in ministries but in the day to day grind of our lives we do not live in His truth. It's like we save God for problems or petitions but do not walk with Him constantly. Remember one the greatest promises of God:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8: 28 (NIV)
This doesn't say in some things beloved. In ALL things God is working for our good. But we must be found living in Christ, not just being a visitor:
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15: 4 (NLT)
A visitor by definition does not remain. An inhabitant by definition remains. He stays. She dwells. People love to recite Psalm 91 but what is the entire Psalm predicated upon?