Our Relationship with Christ Allows Us to Walk with Confidence
In 1 John 3:19-20, John 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.” Although we allow God’s love to flow through us and we are truly living a life of love (see 1 John 3:16-18), we know how easily our consciences can render us ineffective. Doubt, guilt, and failure are never far from any of us.
Sometimes our misgivings are the result of our own actions or inactions. Sometimes it is the “accuser” who seizes our weaknesses and shortcomings and so elevates them in our mind that we wonder whether we are really God’s child. Thankfully, we know that God’s promises are true, and despite our failings and our feelings, we know that we are forgiven (see 1 John 1:9). Standing on this, by faith, we can have confidence before God.
When we put our faith in Christ, we are born of His Spirit and He pours His love into our hearts.
Walking with the Lord travels a fine line. It is easy to base our relationship with Him on how we feel, or on how we are performing, but it really has to be based on what He has said in His Word. It is a matter of direction. Are we seeking to walk with the Lord, or are we going our own way?
Christians, especially those who are not mature in the Lord, often become fearful because they realize how far short of perfection they are. We may act or react in a manner that doesn’t line up with God’s standards, and the enemy of our soul immediately begins to accuse us, placing doubts in our thoughts such as, “How can you be a Christian and act (think, feel) like that?” John continually reassures us that we are loved and forgiven. We must always remember, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If we are seeking to “walk in the light,” we know that His blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Then, John says, “If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 John 3:21-24).
Faith and love are what please the Father. When we put our faith in Christ, we are born of His Spirit and He pours His love into our hearts. That love in turn flows out to those around us, especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Real love is not self-seeking, but is always seeking what is best for the other. This will naturally result in our prayers being Christ-centered rather than self-centered, which is the result of His Spirit within us.
As we said before, Christianity is not merely a religion. It is a relationship with the eternal, holy, righteous God, the Creator, that was made possible by the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. This relationship changes everything. Our past (even a moment ago) is forgiven. His grace is there for today, teaching us how to live, changing us to be like Him, helping us in our difficulties, comforting us in our sorrow, forgiving our failures. Our future—well, our future is assured, and is as bright as the promises of God.
About Nancy J. Collins
Nancy J. Collins is the director of Joy of Living Bible Studies. She has been a speaker and Bible teacher for over 30 years, ministering to both children and adults, and is the presenter of the Joy of Living training video, Planning & Leading a Bible Study.
Nancy holds a B. A. in Biblical Studies, and is the author of three complete Joy of Living courses; the commentary portion of five Joy of Living courses; the study questions for over ten Joy of Living courses; and three Joy of Living pre-school studies. She, also, co-authored the Leadership Training Guide, and has edited many of the Joy of Living courses.
She and her husband, Chuck, live in Southern California. They have 7 adult children.