Monday, January 4, 2016

Blessed Reassurance

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for today:
1 John 3:11- 4:6
mark this: 1 John 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.
I think it was Morris Albert who sang:
"Feelings! Nothing more than feelings..."
Feelings seem to rule the world. As much as we would like to live by our reason or our will, so often we find that most of the decisions we make, we base on how we feel more than anything else. I can think of dozens of popular songs about feelings, but when was the last time you heard one based on reason. No one would listen to a song called "I Can't Fight This Deduction Anymore."
We are grateful that God has given us feelings, that we are more than our instincts and the chemical reactions that occur in our brain. We are even more grateful that God Himself has feelings; that He is not some cold, calculating, unmovable supercomputer beyond any emotion.  (Confer with Genesis 6:6 or John 11:35, among many other references.)
But sometimes our feelings or emotions can deceive us. Sometimes they can get the best of us. Sometimes they are more real to us than anything else, even the promises of God. And this is where the verses in 1 John come in.
First John (one of my all-time favorite books in the Bible), is perhaps the best treatise on what we call Blessed Assurance: the idea that we can know and be confident that we have eternal life.
In a world where in most other religions, and even in some Christian denominations, a person can't really be sure if they have eternal life, this book destroys that myth. John has assured us that we have the Word of Life (1:1), that we have passed from death to life (3:14), that we have confidence in the day of judgment (4:17), and that we can know we have eternal life (5:13).
What an amazing thing to know: that we don't have to live in fear and confusion about the life to come because of the work of Jesus Christ. I have that Blessed Assurance
But sometimes what I need is more what I call Blessed Reassurance. I have no doubt that I have been purchased by God and redeemed by the blood of His Son. What I sometimes do doubt is my relationship with Him, especially when I am listening to the voice of negative feelings and emotions: self-pity, self-hatred, pride, anger, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, worthlessness, hatred, guilt, fear, shame. The list goes on.
But here is the great news of this particular passage. God is GREATER than our hearts. Our emotions are real, and to deny them is foolish. But what is even more foolish is to let them have the final say, especially when God, and His love, is stronger than even the darkest depression, the most supreme disappointment, or even the shame and guilt that come with sin. It's okay to listen to our hearts, but sometimes I need to tell my heart to listen to God, and by faith trust that He is greater than even our hearts.
What do you struggle with in terms of emotions? Do you feel guilty? Depressed? Bitter? Hurt? Alone? Ashamed? Fearful? Worthless?
Do NOT try to hide these feelings. Don't ignore them. Don't try to will your way or reason your way out of them. Bring them to Him and be reassured that He is greater than all the turmoil that is going on inside.

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