When your heart condemns you…

God’s doing something beautiful at our house this week…

It started last month with a discussion about negativity. Someone postulated that we put too much guilt on ourselves, as individuals, as a family, and as a church, with our self-focused negative thoughts. Thoughts that were not from God. To try it out, we each quickly wrote down the negative thoughts we had about ourselves that day (just the ones we could remember in a few moments) I stopped at 25 – the one that said, ‘No matter how well I do at anything, I will never be truly happy with myself‘ – that was the mother-ship. Because the way I am (and I’m sure many of you out there are the same way) you can tell me I’m smart, pretty and accomplished till you’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean a thing. I have to feel it. I have to do it. I have to be perfect.

Silly Marli. I may know it’s not right, but it’s the way I feel most days, eh?

And then on Sunday, church ended with Galatians 3:3, “How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” Thank you Lord! I needed that.

But it didn’t stop there – God’s king of the one-two punch. Yesterday I was listening to a podcast by Jon Courson on 1 John 3. Just soak it in with me:

When you begin to read the Scriptures and when you begin to get a feel for what God knows, you begin to understand that God expects a lot less out of us than we expect of ourselves. I’m convinced that most of us expect more out of ourselves than God does. We put all these pressures on ourselves, all of these goals we make for ourselves, all of these expectations that are there that we write in our new years resolutions – and God says, “Hey, I know who you are. I know your frailty, your but dust, I have compassion on you. I know your tendencies. I know that in you, in your flesh dwells no good thing. I know that! And thats what’s so profound about 1 John – John makes it so simple – he narrows it down to this: Love. Love the Lord. Love each other. And your doing great.

“So if your heart condemns you, God is greater than your heart, and he knows everything” 1 John 3:20

Oh, the Lord is a good God.

galatians wallpaper

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8 comments

  1. Good picture! Thanks for standing up for the truth of the gospel! I’m trying to begin doing this on-line as well. The site I’ve set up has and will have many audios and videos on it to make learning what Christians need to in this present evil world as simple as possible. I think you’ll like it. Here’s the link: RYFTKOHIAH.WordPress.com
    I’ve just started it last year and I’m trying to get this out to as many people as I can, so please pass it on. :)
    Thank you.
    As a brother under the blood of Jesus Christ,
    Joseph Armstrong

    1. carlimichele · · Reply

      I really needed to hear this Marli. That verse spoke to me so much on Sunday as well. Right before I read this post, I just finished reading and meditating on Galatians 3:3, so it was definitely God’s timing. Thank you Marli :)

  2. Oh He is so wonderful!!
    Thank you for obeying the Spirit’s prompting to post this Marli! Perfect timing. Of course, doesn’t God always do that? ;)

  3. When you look at pictures of a mountain climber at 28,000 feet up Mt. Everest, looking unkempt and exhausted, you know you’re looking at a hero, not a mess. Most of us, despite our efforts to look as good as possible in each other’s eyes, look pretty messy sometimes. God knows the roughness of the mountain we’re climbing and isn’t distracted by the messiness. We need to remind ourselves often that God has created in our hearts all the beauty of Jesus Christ. Enjoy it!

    1. What a helpful analogy – Thank you!

  4. I know exactly how you feel, and I LOVE that I always hear what I need to hear at church. This is a good reminder for all of us.

    Take care!

  5. Your quote said this: “Love. Love the Lord. Love each other. And your doing great.”

    That last sentence bothers me a little. I know your idea here is that we are often harder on ourselves than God is on us, but my warning lights automatically start flashing whenever I see something that says I’m ‘doing great’. This is because that pat on the back can so easily turn into complacency. I almost think doing great should lead to a stronger effort, a bigger motivation, because of that realization, certainly not a slacking off of effort.
    But yes, looking at the whole scope of this post, it’s so, so true–we want to be completely perfect, and we just cannot be. Yet it’s almost good to have some unattainable goals, godly ones mind you, so that we will be forced to trust more in Christ…

  6. Good thoughts Sara! I believe Pastor Courson was probably thinking of a quote by St. Augustine in that last bit, in a letter Augustine wrote to a pastor, “Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt.”.

    Though a quick reading does seem to give license for slacking, I think a discerning look at the quote shows how true it is. When I am deeply, maturely in love with the Lord, I cannot help but use my life for him – it’s the love that gives fire and urgency. And even, hope for those “unattainable goals”. Loving the Lord is anything but reason to slack off.

    As a person prone to guilt, those words bring me so much comfort. I spend endless time thinking about how I can be better. Planning, writing resolutions, etc… But it’s a very self-centered, burdensome striving. Only when it comes from love of God is the burden lifted :)

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